Getting a cold when you're all grown up is the worst. There's nothing in it for you.
It's one of those illnesses where you're not sick enough that you need to stay home from work or school, but you're feeling miserable and don't feel like doing anything.
A cold is a sloppy, disgusting ailment. No one takes care of you, and the medicinals either knock you out cold or remove you from reality.
I don't know how I got my last cold, but I wished I could give it to someone else and get on with my life. I don't believe in being sick. It's one of those mind-over-body things. I don't have the time or the desire to indulge in explorations of self-pity and helplessness.
This means depending on someone else. Being a man, I can't stand admitting that I'm wrong or need assistance. Once it's decided that I'm sick, though, put me in a dress and ask me to dance because I'm as helpless as possible in order to grab some care-taking.
"Ma, could you change the channel?" or "Brother, would you mind getting the bedpan?" were often heard in the household during my bout with this cursed cold. At work, I felt very unattractive. How attractive could I possibly be when I was sneezing incessantly?
Anyone out in the open had to find a safe hiding place to towel off with a hanky. What a catch of a man I am. Who would want help finding something in a store when my tongue was blue from cough drops?
Colds do wonders for self-esteem. At the end of the day, after a hot bath at 5,000 degrees to relieve the clogged foghorn sinuses, it's time for a personal hell getting to sleep. One nose tunnel oozes onto the pillow. The other is so dry, itchy and irritated, it could be Death Valley.
Trying to breathe out of the mouth is a no-go, because my throat's all dry and sore. It feels like a pygmie tobogganing down my tongue on sandpaper. The electric blanket is either too hot or too cold.
The medication is enough to send Ernest Hemingway into a year of sobriety. Cough syrup knocks you out cold. After taking two teaspoons before bedtime of some concoction that's two parts alcohol and one part codeine, you come out of the coma a year later raving about blue monkeys that ate your VCR.
A sinus-relief pill later, and you've got a dumb, happy look on your face but can't quite remember who the president is -- and who wants to?
Cough drops are OK, but they either taste really good and do nothing, or they taste like freeze-dried sand and make you euphoric for five minutes.
With a combination of the aforementioned, one sleeps 14 hours a day, glides through life with cherry stained teeth and loses limbs operating even the simplest of machinery, such as a manual can-opener.
I wouldn't wish a cold on my worst enemy. Getting sick and recovering makes you really appreciate and enjoy the gift of good health. Chicken soup never tasted so good.
TOM WATERS lives in Williamsville.
For submission guidelines on columns appearing in this space, click on The Buffalo News logo at the Buffalo.com Web site, then click on Opinions and My View, then scroll down to Contact Us and click on that; or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Opinion Pages Guidelines, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.