How to have the flu

Started by richard ford, Apr 15, 2005, 06:02 AM

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richard ford

How to have the flu. Richard Ford public copyright.

There is an advertisement on the TV that tells men how to deal with the flu. A bunch of rather unpleasant alpha male type men are competing for the favour of their boss. One has the flu and the others are looking forward to shafting him. Fortunately he has some drug or other that suppresses the symptoms for a while so he gets the job. The message is 'flu is for wimps'.

It is noticeable that no woman play a part in the advert because women look after themselves a great deal better than men. Men see themselves as providers and are quite prepared to sacrifice their health to do so. A woman is far more likely to deal with this problem by letting someone else take the strain for a while and by eating properly, this is one area where I think women are wiser than men.

I have a theory about flu and colds. Have you ever experienced a cold coming on and persisting for several days? By will power it is possible to ignore the cold so that you may complete whatever you are engaged in. As soon as you take a day off the cold comes back with a vengeance although you feel better afterwards. The longer we put off the 'work' of  feeling the symptoms of the cold the harder it hits us in the end. Putting off a cold is rather like putting off a debt. It can always be ignored for a while but interest must be paid.

The strange thing is that having a cold or flu can be enjoyable! I am saying goodbye to a two day flu right now and it has not been too bad at all. I have slept through much of it and have run a temperature that has made my bones ache in a tingling sensual sort of way. I have enjoyed the sensation of being safe and warm in my bed a great deal and feel clearheaded and relaxed now because of all the sleep I have had. I am glad that I have not taken the advice of the advertisers and tried to work my way through the illness out of duty or to 'be a man'. What would this have achieved? I would have spread the bug around my workplace and ensured future profits fro beechams. I will also have encouraged my employer to judge men and women by different standards. In any case I was probably working in their best interest by taking the time off... when I come back I will be so much more productive than the men who think they have a duty to struggle through.

If it is possible to enjoy the flu then what else might it be possible to enjoy? Perhaps all of life can be enjoyed provided it can also be accepted? All bodily functions that are healing are also enjoyable. Eating (should be) a great pleasure provided it is done mindfully. Simply shovelling food into the mouth while working does not count. Shitting is a greatly underrated pleasure - particularly compared with sex. Scratching, yawning, sneezing, even working should be pleasures. When I come to die I will be ready for this and I think leaving my ancient body will be a pleasure too.

Pleasure is natures way of rewarding us for good behaviour. This is why staying home with the flu is pleasant and working with the flu is unpleasant. Human beings are not lazy. We enjoy producing things- even our hobbies are constructive. We produce model aeroplanes, websites, cakes. The better we make them the happier we are. If we find ourselves hating our job then this is a sign that we are not producing the right product. Usually it is the job that is wrong rather than ourselves.

It therefore follows that a life lived close to ones own nature will be full of pleasure. Many of these pleasures will be the sort of thing that other people do not even notice such as a birdsong or the smell of damp earth. Pleasure may be used as a compass to find ones own nature. It will tell you when you are near by making the most ordinary things wonderful.

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