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The Flu Ravages Your Soul and Strips You Bare. Maybe That’s a Good Thing.

I'm walking the rest of the way to Bethlehem

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy / Unsplash

The bad flu rips out the soul, rapes the mind, and ravages the body. And that’s just for the people around the stricken. For the sick person, it does all that and tap dances on the corpse, then hovers for a few days and plays whack-a-mole with any signs of life.

Such was my experience over the past week.

I’ve been out of the office since last Wednesday, with no certain return date. I’m fatigued, my body still aches a bit, and my lungs and nasal faculties are putting forth a yeoman’s effort to expel the last of this demon.

Caesar’s Sportsbook has placed my over-under at 3: the number of naps I’ll take every day this week as I try to regain my strength.

All Life’s Activities: Destroyed

I had a frenzied December on my hands with a ton of things to get done before Christmas.

My engine was running full throttle into the Christmas station, trying to arrive on time.

And then the entire train derailed.

I survey the damage a week later: Advent prayer routine: smashed. Exercise regimen: destroyed. Strict diet: evaporated. Writing: MiA. Client files: colossal pile-up.

The Totality of It

Nassim Taleb likes to observe that it’s easier for a man to lose all his fortune than only half of it.

The bad flu is kind of like that. When I walked out this morning and surveyed the damage, I knew there was nothing I could do to get the train working. Everything was destroyed. I could only start picking up the debris one piece at a time.

What can a guy do? The entire freakin’ train derailed.

The only response is to shrug your shoulders.

There’s no “illusion of simultaneity,” that cognitive phenomenon that makes us think multiple things must all be done first even though such a thing is impossible and, therefore, an illusion that pointlessly induces panic. I know I can’t do everything. I can’t even make a list. I just gotta pick up one thing at a time and deal with it.

The forced resignation is calming.


It’s why it’s existentially easier for a man to lose all his fortune than just half.

Imagine if I’d only gotten a pretty bad cold.

I still would’ve had all those daily activities on my plate. Since I'm in the office, clients would call, wanting to know why I haven’t addressed their files yet. I’d be trying to stick to my diet and exercise. I’d be trying to focus on those Advent prayers.

It would’ve been very frustrating.

But the flu?

It’s not frustrating. A devastating demon child, yes, but not frustrating.

I’m Walking the Rest of the Way

I won’t be riding that train into the Christmas station with the throttle pushed to the floor and my bags packed.

I’m walking there, maybe limping a little, with perhaps a satchel around my shoulder.

And that’s alright.

No one, after all, took a train to Bethlehem.