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What Do You Do When You’re Feeling Too Rotten to Do Anything?

February 25, 2010

Note: It’s Wednesday, February 24, and it’s 4:50 in the afternoon. There’s no late posting of something daily here.

Nothing. Nothing that you don’t have to do. Nothing that you want to do. The optional is off the table. The whole idea of working when you’re sick seems to have become a cultural expectation. Pills and medicines promise to mask the pain and keep us going. I’ve been keeping on today without medication, although I’ve been dosing myself with tangerines, decaf tea, and lemon sorbet. I’ve done the things I have to do and I don’t have energy for anything else.

In The Way of All Flesh (1903), Samuel Butler said, “I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better.” I’m not immersed in any kind of great pleasure with this awful whatever it is—bad cold or some version of the flu—but I’m not doing any more work today unless an urgent email comes in. Even as I word process these words, I realize how silly they are. I’m going to try to quit checking on what I imagine I ought to do and go to sleep.

What’s your cure when you’re feeling rotten?

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.
• Irish proverb

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