The common cold — what a bloody pain in the neck it is. Well, not exactly. What a bloody pain in the throat, sinuses and nasal passages it is. (Less poetic, but more accurate. Because “bloody pain in the neck” is poetic, right?)

But it isn’t without its advantages. My latest one had me so exhausted I could sleep for twelve hours straight at night, and still want to sleep again in the afternoon. Where is the advantage, you ask? Well, when else will you get to sleep so much and not feel an ounce of guilt? When else will you be able to call sleep the most important thing in your life and not have people laugh at you? When else will you go so many days with zero exercise and not feel guilty? (As you can see, my life is ruled by guilt.) When else will you go through a yoga class and feel that it was an accomplishment?

Hopefully your cold will never reach the “massively sore throat and coughing it to shreds” stage, because even I am hard-pressed to think of the advantages of that, but while it lasts your colleagues will likely be nicer to you — letting you sit quietly in meetings instead of ~participating~ and even suggesting you go home early (no really).

And these are all terrific things, because when else will you and the world so readily accept that you really needn’t make an effort? That sipping hot drinks is the most activity you can and should engage in? That it’s okay to just let it all go for a bit?

In Pride and Prejudice, when Lydia elopes with Wickham, and her mother is in a state, being waited on hand and foot, we have Mr. Bennet comment, “This is a parade, which does one good; it gives such an elegance to misfortune! Another day I will do the same; I will sit in my library, in my nightcap and powdering gown, and give as much trouble as I can; or, perhaps, I may defer it till Kitty runs away.”

Being waited on hand and foot may be a luxury too far, but the most luxurious part of a common cold is indeed that it lets you be what all humans have evolved to be — conservers of energy a.k.a. lazy bums. It lets you sink into the soft (since flabby) arms of sloth for a few days, to retreat from the world as it were, to rest and recuperate. So that when you emerge into the sunlight a few days later, as indeed you will, and willingly, you will be raring to go — raring to stretch your body, use your brain, talk, ~contribute~, run your life or at least try to!

And finally, how about the great deep sexy voice you have when you are afflicted? All the low notes you get to sing that you never before thought possible? Any cold that bypasses this stage always makes me feel so terribly shortchanged.

So the next time you think you are coming down with a cold, don’t try to fight it, don’t bother with any vitamins. Instead, give in to it. In the end, the germs are likely to win anyway, because as they didn’t realise when they wrote the Bible, it’s not the meek who will inherit the Earth, it’s the germs. So let them have free reign, let them wreak havoc with your body, and don’t forget to enjoy it while they do.

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