I’ve been thinking about sickness lately, primarily because most everyone in our office suite has taken a turn and the rest of us are a little jumpy. I mean, someone coughs, and the rest of us instinctively dive across the room and stick to the wall like Velcro. Miraculously, we all still seem to like each other: We’re just equally terrified of each other right now.
And then last Sunday my wife and I enjoyed a nice afternoon date at a neighborhood urgent care and discovered that she had strep throat. She probably had strep throat before we went to urgent care, but one can never be certain. I mostly spent my time there hovering over a plastic chair and practicing not breathing. It was just for fourteen thousand hours or so.
I’m not technically a germophobe. I’m more of a germo-philosopher who would rather not get sick.
The worst part of when “something is going around” has to be the paranoia. If someone with the plague sneezes in your mouth, well sure, buy a box of Kleenex and head for the sofa, but more often than not we spend our waking hours convinced that every single physical contact with anything is fatal (e.g., Where has that paperclip been?). This is quickly confirmed by the tickling in the throat and the warm body temperature that immediately arrives after coming into contact with every single thing.
So what do you do when the world you inhabit is virus-infested and nowhere is safe? Maybe you’re the type that wears a mask and washes your hands like you’re destroying evidence, or maybe you’re the type that lives in denial convinced that you’ve cracked the code and are dodging invisible germs like a fighter pilot. Either way, you can’t hide forever, and you have to go out and live life anyway.
There’s a metaphor in there somewhere. Life can sometimes feel like a dangerous place with invisible forces that you don’t know how to avoid. Go live life anyway. If it gets you, at least go down swinging.