FANFARE FOR THE COMMON

Maybe one of the reasons the word common gets such a bad rap is rooted in what some of us Americans left behind in England. To me, ‘Common’ denotes Average; Ordinary; or not otherwise worthy of any particular note.

Commoner.

On an unrelated note, I don’t get sick. I just don’t. Till this week.

In reviewing the beautiful bean footage, I now think I’ve been fighting this back for the past two-weeks. Despite knowing that all I get in Denial, is wet, I refused to acknowledge I may be coming down with something.

I don’t get sick.

Mr. ‘I Don’t Get Sick’, I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Cold. Common Cold.

Cold, this is Dan.”

I’m a big healthy guy and I was being bested by a cold, and a common cold at that. What a blow to my guy-hood! Me! and all it takes to get my attention is a common cold?

Days dragged by before I begrudgingly agreed that something wasn’t right. Within the hour, I was driving to our local Wally World for a ‘buy’. Judging from the looks on the faces of my fellow shoppers, they knew I was a man-on-a-mission.

What do you mean you don’t carry Thera-Flu anymore?

What do you do? I mean, I was at the store. This was the time. Time.

Time to adapt.

‘What else you got?’

15-minutes later, I was headed back to the car, bag in-hand and loaded for bear. Once home, I climbed into my comfy clothes, headed for the recliner with a glass of water and began commencing with dosing the particular regime I’d laid out for myself.

By the next morning, I scanned my systems as I woke up and was horrified to sense the cold had actually gotten worse. Luckily, I had the day off, but what a murky definition of luck, right?

Even more determined, I stayed on my dosing time-table like a Swiss train schedule. And I was going to pursue my cure plan until I’d really kicked whatever this was…even if I felt better. See it through.

Now I wonder if I wasn’t negotiating with myself…trying to feed it an alternate sound track for suggestive healing. Whatever the case, I began sensing improvement the day after that. And yesterday, I knew I was coming out on the right side of my humbling reminder of being carbon-based. And today?

I feel like a million bucks. Tired, but the week is done and I can write.

I like having an appetite again. I like not being all achy, runny, sore throat and self-conscious of how dry my eyes felt. I like people not flinching when I sneeze.

But here’s what else I like:

Common is not the ‘less than‘ it seems to be on the surface. Common is the shared. Common is sense. Common is courtesy. Common is, “I see you. I’m here.

My week of coming back from the common cold has been peppered with instances of kindness of others…others who’ve had colds. Soup. Advice. Tea suggestions. Encouraging words. Sympathy…and with some redness in my face, I’ll confess that every once and a great while, it feels good to have someone feel sorry for me. Then, this morning, it hit me like lightning…My cold had minced no words in its effortless demonstration of just how powerful ‘common’ can be.

Everyone has had a cold and everyone could (conceivably) move to Nashville and write songs filled with rain and somebody-gone song back beats.

But that’s it! Don’t you get it? It took me awhile too…and I already knew it.

Common is what makes us ‘we’. And ‘we’ is what brings me to ‘us’.

As a people, we would not be able to be magnificent without the collective offerings of the common.

I was reading an article the other day which got me to thinking about how difficult my typical day would be if I had to go without the common things. Snooze buttons, Coffee makers, Light bulbs and shower heads. And that’s just ‘getting up’! By the time I leave the house, I’m even turning common, ordinary door knobs. Common is everywhere I look. How depressing. Not.

Stop and take a second. Look around you – right now. You’re surrounded by all kinds of common things; a calculator, the mail on the desk and my faithful coffee cup sitting immediately to my left.

But here’s the prize inside:

Take another minute and I’ll bet you suddenly see people around you who mean something, who can do something because of what we have in common. It could be a waitress. It can be someone passing us in the other direction. It could be the guy at the gas station or even the people sitting in front of your TV.

But let me go back to the beginning, the turning point, the moment this whole thing clicked for me.

At the depths of my bout with seasonal illness, I distracted myself in cruising the web and went on over to check in on Paralaxvu (http://paralaxvu.wordpress.com/). There, I was greeted by a most unexpected tonic, a YouTube clip of “Bring Me Sunshine” by the Jive Aces. Romping, slick and well produced, its’ stomping was better than Thera-Flu (if you can find it). Inside of 5-minutes of clicking the link, I knew I was going to be fine. I was feeling a little like my old self again. I even did a little slide dance move in the hallway on the bathroom…humming the tag line as I did. ‘Huh, I am feeling better‘.

This week, I’m going to thank my bout with the common cold by looking for chances to be as ordinary as I can be with those who were in common with me this past week. I am going to hold a door. I’ll smile quietly to myself when I get to do a little extra something for someone, simply because they strike me as maybe needing to catch a break. Or even better…I’m going to take an extra two or three seconds to look someone in the eye and see them the next time I talk to them.

How lucky are we to be in common? Knowing that you read this with me is such a rush. Thank you. Because of you, my ‘common’ is anything but ordinary. You did that. Magnificent. Now, go out and do it again.

I’ll race you.

Click to Go See

Jive Aces –

The Jive Aces, winners of BBC TV’s Opportunity Knocks, formed in 1989. And Britain’s Got Talent semi finalists in 2012

Thank you Parallexvu: http://paralaxvu.wordpress.com/f for the joy of me then getting to share it with Ms. Bluebird.

You done good. Dan

For her part, Courtenay Bluebird can be found @ http://bluebirdblvd.net/2012/10/21/5-minute-dance-party-bring-me-sunshine/

PASSAGES

Arlen Specter. (February 12, 1930 – October 14, 2012): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlen_Specter

 

George McGovern. (July 19, 1922 –October 21, 2012)

http://www.salon.com/2012/10/21/george_mcgovern_he_deserved_better/singleton/

And Dennis, Rick’s older brother. Dennis died yesterday in ICU from complications after apparently suffering multiple strokes several weeks ago. He was 57. Too young…

PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS: The English Aristocracy by David Crouch: http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/The-English-Aristocracy-1070-1272/book-o15eOZJguE6gJgTUBcEn4w/page1.html; Thera-Flu: http://www.theraflu.com/index.shtml; An Uncommon History of Common Things by Bethanne Patrick and John Thompson: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/122335-an-uncommon-history-of-common-things-by-bethanne-patrick-and-john-th/

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About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 32 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogged the past 6-years because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
This entry was posted in Hope, Humor, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to FANFARE FOR THE COMMON

  1. Your gift of the Jive Aces (passed on from the lovely Parallelxvu) made so many people happy over the last week.

    Regardless of the happiness you’ve passed on to others, I know that some old narratives have surfaced due to your mother’s passing and, to a lesser extent, this awful cold you’ve had— but one this is abundantly clear to me: Despite anyone’s poor behavior, you are kind , Dan. So very, very kind.

    Kindness of your calibre takes muscle and practice. I am so thrilled to know you, to read your stories. If there’s any way I can help you out in the next month, please don’t hesitate to contact me: bluebirdblvd (at) att (dot) net.

  2. yearstricken says:

    I’m always encouraged by your writing, Dan. I am sorry to hear of Rick’s older brother’s passing.

  3. paralaxvu says:

    My condolences also, to Rick and you. I recently lost my oldest brother. He was 85, but somehow age means nothing when you’ve lost a loved sibling. I’m so glad my little post from the Jive Aces perked you up. I’ve been fighting a backslide into depression lately, and know it helped me. Now that I think of it, I should put it on my desktop and listen to it every day! Oh, and the common cold? I don’t know where I heard this from, but here’s a little something to think about: If you get a cold, go to the nearest store and buy the cough syrup, the lozenges, the end-your-cold-in-two-days stuff, then go back home and go to bed. In a week, the cold will be gone. Or, brew yourself some tea, drink lots of that and chicken soup, and stay in bed. In a week, the cold will be gone. 😉

    • dan4kent says:

      Thank you for your extension of sympathy and you’re right…age is irrelevant. Wishing I were a rich man, I’d have taken several days and retired to my pillows and blankets, but such is not my world at the moment. But what I do know is now I know who to reach out to for prescriptions of well-being. And the jive aces bit? I’ve listened to it at least once a day since you posted. I’ve shared it. You did that! What an incredible gift!. Tell that to your depression the next time it comes calling…depression hates knowing you’ve been effective despite its best efforts. Well done. No…extraodinarily well done. I am in your debt. Be well. Write something…so what if it’s dark. You are onto something good… Travel safely. Talk to you on Sunday. Dan

  4. purplemary54 says:

    I’m glad you’re feeling better, and I’m so sorry about the loss in your family. I have to remind myself of the “common” thing whenever I start feeling a little superior because of my relative intelligence. I just remind myself that I can be (and have been) just as stupid as everyone else. We all have a talent, an intelligence, and many skills. I’m really good at one, maybe two things, and I can make a decent effort at a few more. But I’m utterly lost at about a zillion other things, and I can think of at least a dozen people who are good at some of those. We all need each other.

    As for colds? I start overdosing on Vitamin C the minute I realize I’m sick. It doesn’t stop the cold, but it does keep it pretty short.

    • dan4kent says:

      PM54 — Thank you. I am feeling better. And ‘ditto’ on the relative intelligence score. On behalf of the US Vitamin C council, they will undoubtedly send me a thank-you card for helping them increase sales in this quarter (Ha!). Keep on keeping on…as will I. See you next week. Dan

  5. Dan,
    Congratulations on discovering, or rediscovering what’s special about common. Thanks for the reminder.

    My condolences on Rick’s loss, which becomes a loss you have in common, so my condolences to you both as you move through your grief together.

    Blessings,
    Kina

  6. katecrimmins says:

    A few weeks back, I too was knocked back by some common malady. Humbling! Glad you’re better.

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