When we encounter misfortune as we travel the road of Life, most of us have at least one very special friend who will remind us that every cloud has a silver lining, it’s always darkest before the dawn and when Life gives us lemons, we should make lemonade.
These friends are assholes.
Generally speaking, these friends can smile in the face of disaster because it’s your disaster, not theirs. When they have a problem they bitch, whine, and vow vengeance just like the rest of us.
Nevertheless, since I don’t have any other option, I’ve decided to give the power of positive thinking a try.
Because I have the flu.
So let’s examine what most people consider a miserable experience through my newly acquired pair of rose-colored glasses.
I got a free trip around the world!
Sure, I could have gone to a travel agent and spent lots of time and money traveling around the world, but in just a single night the flu allowed me to experience several different climates without leaving my couch…and it was all for free!
At one point I was shivering so badly it felt like I was at the North Pole, and yet just a few hours later I was sweating like I was traveling up the Amazon into the deepest, darkest part of the rainforest.
All through the miracle of viral infection!
I shook hands with the wrong person or touched the wrong doorknob and won the influenza lottery! God has a plan for each and every one of us and apparently part of His plan for me was to spend the weekend coughing up a third of my body weight in snot.
And yet people question His existence.
I learned how to play the bagpipes!
You’d think learning to play the bagpipes would require actually buying bagpipes and a good set of pipes – assuming they come in sets – can cost over $1,200. But through the never-ending miracle of influenza I now have a free set of bagpipes where my lungs used to be.
And I didn’t have to pay for bagpipe lessons either!
According to the internet it can take up to six months for the fastest learners and two years for morons to play music that, when performed correctly, can make even the Dalai Lama plug his ears and ask you to knock that shit off.
And yet overnight I am now able to wheeze out a passable version of Amazing Grace just by breathing!
Listen to me struggle for oxygen for just a few minutes and you’ll feel magically transported to Edinburgh, located in Jolly Old Scotland and yearn for a heaping helping of haggis which is either a savory pudding made up of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs or the big hairy guy that hangs out with Harry Potter.
And if I’ve got any of that wrong, who cares?
I’m also losing weight!
There’s really no better time to start a diet than when the thought of food gives you the dry heaves. There are runway super-models that ought to fly to Kansas City just to let me breathe on them so they too can have the flu and get down to their ideal weight.
And the flu is so efficient!
It’s using both ends of my digestive tract to get rid of excess body weight and give me the six-pack abs I’ve always longed for.
Who could ask for more?
And yet, the gift of the flu just keeps on giving.
I’ve saved money on recreational drugs
Before contracting the flu if I wanted to experience lightheadedness and disorientation, I might have to buy expensive and highly illegal drugs.
Now, all I have to do is stand up too quickly.
Timothy Leary would die of jealousy if he wasn’t already dead.
No more trips to the gym
Sure, I could go to the gym to get aerobic exercise while running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike, but now all I have to do is lie on my couch and cough until parts of my spleen come up.
Plus, I’m getting a terrific upper body workout because it’s taking a minimum of three tries and a firm grip on some stationary object to get up off my couch and make it to the bathroom to lose another five pounds.
It’s an infectious miracle!
The perfect excuse for every occasion
Having the flu has caused me to miss two events I wanted to participate in and two I wanted to skip, so right now influenza is batting .500 and that’s good enough to send it to Cooperstown.
(I’ll leave it to the people who invited me to guess which side of the ledger their invitation falls on.)
If you don’t want to do something – and there’s a whole lot of shit I don’t want to do – the flu is the perfect excuse for not showing up.
And not only do you get to skip the thing you didn’t want to do anyway, but you get to sound altruistic while doing so: “I’d love to (fill in the blank), but I have the bubonic plague and didn’t want to give it to you.” You’re not anti-social; you’re thoughtful!
See how handy the flu can be?
I caught up on the things I wanted to do
This past Saturday, through the miracle of Netflix, I watched three movies – one sucked, two were OK – while wrapped in a blanket and drinking coffee which was about a third Jim Beam. To be honest, this is pretty close to what I do every weekend, but this time the flu gave me a good excuse for doing it.
And isn’t that what we’re all looking for in Life?
A good excuse to do the shit we wanted to do, but kinda feel bad about doing?
So after giving the glass-is-half-full philosophy a try, I’ve got to admit those people who tell us a smile is just a frown turned upside down may have a point.
But they’re still assholes.