Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Stages of a Cold

I can generally tell when I'm getting a cold - I cough a bit, sniffle more than usual, and my throat may hurt a bit. If I take the hint and rest for a couple of days, my body is usually able to fight it off. If, however, I push the limits of my body's ability to even keep me upright by depriving myself of sleep and food and then working out or staying late at work anyway, I move on to stage 2: speaking is optional. My throat gets so sore that it's hard to swallow and difficult to talk. At this point, there is no turning back. This is my final warning before the worst of it hits. Depending on what time of day this stage starts, it could be later that same day or even the next day that stage 3 happens: energy reallocation.

At this point, my body's metabolism has been elevated in order to fight the cold, yet the energy to do something such as sit in a chair is not readily available. But I know my metabolism is raised because I eat everything in sight. Caffeine does no good at this point because caffeine is merely a stimulant, not an actual source of energy. My body is already revved up to the red line. She canna take much morrrrrre!

The thing to consume when sick with a cold is a bowl of salt water (otherwise known as chicken soup) and as much juice as your kidneys can stand (for the vitamin C). However, if I'm out of those things, I end up eating all of the candy I've stashed around my apartment. "Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains!" -uh, I mean - "Energyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" my body cries. "Sugar is energy," I reply. "Now, shut up, I need a nap."

Which brings me to stage 4: the recovery high. At this point, the cold is finally going away, and my adrenaline levels start to rise. My body is tired of sleeping, dang it, and wants to move. Of course, moving around for more than a few minutes still takes up a great deal of energy, which means I go through longer and longer periods of "Let's do this thing!" alternating with shorter and shorter periods of "Me sleep now." Until finally, my body once again forgets what "me sleep now" means and I'm back to "normal".

"Well, certainly I've said it in a manner that indicates I know for sure."

I think John Hodgman is my new favourite Daily Show correspondant.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Keeping Your Sense of Humor

Slate had an article yesterday about the increasing supply of humor. I can't really tell if Peter Hyman is being ironic or if he is honestly disturbed by the pervasiveness of humor. (He says at one point "...up until a few years ago, these situations were relegated to the realm of the interpersonal, which one could limit by sitting at home in the dark and avoiding all human contact. But this luxury no longer exists." People and their humor! Bah, humbug! Also, we must be hanging out with very different people if he thinks that Fletch is the most over-reference movie ever.)

When he asks "What is the upside of being funny?", he doesn't even address the stress relief aspect of humor. Humor makes you smile, makes you laugh. It lifts your mood and makes it easier to deal when things aren't going your way. We laugh about silly things to get our mind off serious things. We laugh about things we otherwise take seriously to keep ourselves from going mad. We need a break from worry from time to time. In this world where there is so much to worry about, we need a break that much more.