Imagine a still life in cold remedies. Boxes of pills, for sore throat, runny nose, coughing. Day and Night Quils. Tissue boxes, aspirin, three brands of throat lozenge, lemons, honey and a couple of bottles of fine Kentucky bourbon. This bug that entered our house took it all in stride and has finally decide to hit the road. None too soon.
Of all the medicines, sometimes even pure sunshine, which we get on occasion, there is one that always does the job. It's long been called the "best medicine" and in many ways that is arguably the truth. Humor...laughter...finding the lighter side of that which seems permanently so dark.
Scientifically, we know that various enzymes and brain chemicals get released when we laugh. Isn't it wonderful that we can literally save our lives. A good hearty laugh, at anything, is a great antidote for stress, which in turn in an antidote for the ravages of stress.
In my misery this week, I lusted after a few good laughs. I sought the humor that is ever present even in this dark time of national malaise, unending wars, mass shootings, income tax, and the encroaching impact of reality TV.
A couple of theraputic gems that caught my eye started the week off with a smile. How about the federal government for acting the fool and inducing a good laugh. Always dependable. In reading Rachel Maddow's new book Drift I came across a little story she uses as a metaphor for her larger thesis about how the U.S. foreign policy with regard to deploying the military in war has drifted from it's once sturdy base.
Maddow first paints a picture of the small New England town where she lives. She relates how the town fire truck, although dependable, was upgraded after receiving a grant from the Office of Homeland Security. So wonderful and big was the new fire engine that the old firehouse could no longer house the new equipment. That's right, another federal grant and larger firehouse. Is the town any safer? Maddow asks. I'm sure there are even "funnier" examples of federal spending in the wake of 9/11.
Here's another: It's no secret I love horse racing. I love even more, all the folklore and the subculture connected with the sport. Thoroughbred horse names all go through the Jockey Club and must be approved and screened in advance. You can't name your horse after an already famous one, or using any words or terminology that might be deemed inappropriate or offensive. But people persevere and now and then a name gets through because a few syllables are run together, or a piece of slang or the right initials come together for the desired effect. Last week, Michele Wrona, track announcer at Golden Gate Fields, was faced with a name that he just couldn't leave along. Depending on how the horse performed, he was ready. So, when a colt by the name of You're a Nation broke from the gate, Wrona knew he'd be saying something more like "urination." By the time the horses turned for home and were halfway down the home stretch, Wrona piped up, "And You're a Nation has hit the wall." Can't wait for his next race. Wonder what happens when/if he ever wins?