I’ve been staving off a bad cold so far this winter, but I fear the odds are against me. We’re right in the middle of the so-called cold and flu season...but if you watch commercials on TV, the cold and flu season seems to be every season, except for the allergy season.
If you’re like me, you’ve no doubt contracted a bad cold X-number times over your lifetime, so it’s no wonder it’s called the common cold. But this time around I’m worrying more about it because I have a dentist appointment coming up, and I can just see myself lying there with my mouth wide open and suddenly having to sneeze or blow my nose in the middle of a root canal or something. Accordingly, I’ve been taking Linus Pauling’s recommendation and OD-ing on Airborne fizzy tablets and vitamin C capsules. I’ll do anything to keep me from humiliating myself in the dentist chair.
Even eating more vegetables. If I must.
I’m reminded of an old movie that was streaming on the internet a few months back called The Southerner. It was the story of a young farm family in the early 1940s coping with just about every conceivable problem a small farmer could have, from bad neighbors and floods to cotton prices and bank loans. One incident touched on the old wives' tale of “spring sickness,” which was thought to be caused by eating vegetables.
In the film, one of the couple's children becomes deathly ill after eating vegetables from the first crop after a bad winter. The reasoning of the mother was that the vegetables caused the illness. In reality, it was pellagra - scurvy - setting in from not eating fresh vegetables or fruit over the winter.
Of course nowadays, thanks to modern transportation, scurvy caused by the unavailability of vegetables and fruit year-round is not very common.
So eat your veggies, kids. And finish your Wheaties. And don’t track mud over your mother’s nice clean floor, and… and…
Sorry, the long-dormant parent in me kicked in for a second there.
Today, by the way, is the 131st anniversary of the invention of the typewriter ribbon, ensuring that millions of people would sooner or later end up with inky fingers. Before that, people used carbon paper to imprint the letters. Typewriters, for our Millennials’ edification, are those antiquated implements that are responsible for the QWERTY keyboard on computers. I won’t go into carbon paper, for now.
My old typewriter is still safely stored in the attic room just in case there's a total breakdown of the grid and all electronic equipment no longer works. The same goes for my old telephone that you don't have to plug into an electrical outlet and has a curly cord to the handset. It's up there in a box somewhere. Admittedly, we haven't used it for maybe, oh, going on 16 or 17 years, but it worked okay the last time we used it. I think.
We still have a landline at our house and of course, cell phones. We got our first flip phone back about 20 years ago for one reason - and one reason only - for emergencies. Like when one of us was driving to Albuquerque on the interstate.
Oh, we were so innocent then, back in the olden times, weren’t we? Now what we want is a movie camera, a stereo system, a movie theater, a word processor, a video arcade and a road map that scolds you if you miss a turn. All in one annoying little gizmo.
I was recently talking to my millennial-age daughter, Caroline, who lives in Texas and she was ruminating about the technological advancements she's seen since she was born in the early 1980s. She reminisced about vinyl records and cassette tapes, VCRs and the rest of it, and how those things were pretty cool back then. And that there we were, twelve hundred miles apart, looking at each other face-to-face on our respective “I-things” talking about the good old days...of the '80s and '90s.
I guess, yes, I do appreciate the technology that's available today, in spite of my latent Luddite tendencies. I'm still inclined, however unreasonably, to hang on to all my old mechanical and analog devices. Just in case I need them. And I've heard vinyl is coming back.
Speaking of the era of actual records, it was on this date in 1939 that singer Ray Stevens was born. Ray is famous for winning a Grammy for his 1971 song “Everything Is Beautiful”, but his first hit was a novelty song called "Jeremiah Peabody's Polyunsaturated Quick Dissolving, Fast Acting, Pleasant Tasting, Green and Purple Pills.”
Sounds to me like the perfect drug to stave off a bad cold.
On second thought, I may go ahead and starve a fever by feeding a cold. Veggies included.