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The cure for the common cold

Posted by on October 2, 2006

A week ago the Lad and I had both sets of parents to dinner at once. The evening went very well, but at one point I did talk a little about the ways I was being affected by the uncertainty of my job search.

“I get depressed some days for no reason,” I said, “and then it’s just cry cry cry. Then other days I’m euphoric.”

“I keep telling her to call a doctor,” said the Lad.

“What’s a doctor going to do?” my mom asked, unconvinced. “He’ll just tell her it’s all in her head. You’ve got to have symptoms or they won’t do anything.”

“Well,” I admitted, “my hair is kind of falling out lately. My skin is flaking off. My sleep patterns are all wonky. I’m nauseated three days out of five.”

“A doctor seems like a good idea,” the Lad’s mom said, worried.

“You just need to exercise,” my mom Tom Cruise’d. “Why don’t you do that step tape I gave you? Get some cardio going. That will fix you up.”

There was some further debate, but my mom stuck to her guns. A few days later I got an email from her suggesting I might also want to add some vitamin B12 to my diet. To help with the hair thing.

Since that evening, I haven’t exercised or taken B12 at all, but everything has curiously cleared up. My stomach is fine, my hair stays where it should, my skin and sleep are under control, and I no longer burst into tears or euphoric dances on a daily basis, except in the way I do normally.

When I went to the booksale on Thursday I went with Michele and Ellie and Ellie’s two year old son, Tyler. Tyler is a golden child, one of those laughing babies who never seems to have a real meltdown, but at one point he did hit his head and put on an “I’m going to cry” face. “Wow!” said Ellie encouragingly. “That was a good one! Come on, let’s read your Curious George book now.” Like magic, the impending tears disappeared.

Oh those mothers and the tricks they play us. I don’t need exercise (well I do, but not for this specifically), or B12, or Curious George. Sometimes the only cure you need is some faint scorn from your mother. I wonder how far this theory could be taken? Could my mom, say, cure the flu with this? Could she cure concussion? Or leprosy?

“You are just FINE. Now pick up that leg, put it back on, and get back to work — after your room is clean we can go get some ice cream.”

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