Tuesdays With Morrie, and coping with a common cold

This week has been full of Kleenex, honeyed hot tea, and whining. Every time I come down with a common cold, I go through a faulty coping process.

#1: reasoning. odds are this will only last a week. I can do this for a week.

#2: acceptance. I am destined to be sick for an unknown period of time, and I will resign myself to being miserable.

#3: denial. if I act like I feel wonderful, then I will, because I’m just feeling sorry for myself and it’s all in my head 

#4: anger. what did I do to deserve this? I am being robbed of perfectly good days I could be using to do things

#5: fighting. This must be some horrific new strain of rhinovirus. If hot apple cider vinegar diluted with water and honey helps, then straight vinegar shots straight from the bottle must work ten times better. 

All of that nonsense inevitably leads to a form of depression, during which I come to terms with the fact that I have a bad attitude and could be doing profitable things with my time. I then turn into an unreasonable, sneezing, hacking, witchlike creature who expects everyone to proffer chicken soup and foot rubs. More than once, I went nose-to-oozy-nose with my longsuffering husband and proclaimed that I was dying and that my head would soon explode.

Tuesdays_with_Morrie_book_coverMaybe it’s appropriate, then, that the 2015 reading list book I knocked out has everything to do with dying.

To check off the “Book a Friend Recommended” category, I read Tuesdays With Morrie. Because I generally avoid this type of sentimental live-each-day-as-though-it’s-your-last genre, this one was definitely out of the box and entirely based on a good friend’s recommendation.

It’s a quick read, barely more than a long essay, and… well, though I admit Mitch Album has a magical touch with short, sentimental books, it was far from my favorite. I read it in a couple of sittings. It’s not boring.

But I found the whole concept rather cliché. Live like you’re dying. Hug your mom. Carpe diem. All 192 pages say essentially the same thing in different ways. One Goodreads reviewer says it reads like a hundred greeting cards strung together, and I can relate.

As a Christian, the Tuesdays With Morrie philosophy offers some truths I can agree with. Primarily, the necessity of coming to terms with the fact that we’re not immortal and that we shouldn’t act like it. Also the overwhelming importance of love (even for those we’ve never met).

But Morrie’s solution to the problem of death is  an exhaustingly diluted philosophy that doesn’t offer much meaning or purpose at all. Morrie becomes a professor by default because he can’t stand the thought of taking advantage of someone by being a businessman or a lawyer. He borrows from all religions to frame his world in the way he wants–and to give himself hope.

Toward the end of his battle with ALS, he admits (as though this is a weakness?) to praying to God in order to deal with his suffering. Hints of typical Eastern thought: we’re all waves in the ocean. True, one day we’ll crash into the shore and lose our identity, but we’ll still be part of the sea, so it’s OK after all.

So. Lots quotable quotes. Makes you deal with the reality of death and want to legitly carpe diem all over the place. But it’s built on a patchwork philosophy of self-comfort, which leads to not really knowing what you believe about life or death at all.

The book did make me feel like I should be handling my cold with a little more aplomb. As did an unexpected gift from my husband when he came home from work today: an incredibly fuzzy, fluffy owlet with a crooked beak that makes everything better. I shall call him Quill.

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