Something is going around up here and made a stop here at Gasthaus von Erroneous over the weekend. Thus laying me up starting Friday evening through Tuesday with fever and other side effects, mostly undesirable in the extreme. Illness is something I normally do not partake of, this weekend reminding me of why.
Whilst ensconced in the position of woe - laid up on the couch in front of the HDTV with cable, the DVR, and the remote, I was able to partake of some sorely missed viewing. More or less. The sad part is that I really was sick and feverish, so it was in large parts drifting in and out of sleep in front of an NCIS marathon.
Except on Sunday, Earthday. CinC Home has Frozen Planet set to record and it's set to use Tuner 1, meaning whatever is being recorded is what you view live. Changing away from that cancels the recording. FiOS it ain't. And on Earthday they had a Frozen Planet Marathon. The polar bears on the ice weren't the only ones drifting Sunday afternoon.
So, I'm laying there catching up on this weeks episode of Bones. It's about a guy with a terminal case of Short Man's Syndrome. In his case, it ends up being terminal. He lets it define his life, every aspect of it, from how he relates to his wife (won't discuss things with her, not manly) to his son's life (makes him take karate so he won't be beaten up in school for his size). He has his head handed to him when trying to rough up the sensei's daughter (by said daughter), that incident having been filmed and posted online and going viral. His life gets worse as the entire bar laughs at him about it and it results in his death at the hands of a much larger bully, precipitated by his insecurities.
I don't have this problem. I've traditionally been 6'4" though I'm now down to 6'3" and a little over 200. This is not an issue I've faced nor can readily imagine. To me, most of the world is shorter than I, so I don't see it. Despite that, I don't see the world as midgets. I don't immediately think, "I'm taller than he is". It's not relevant to me, it just doesn't occur to me.
I have a good friend of over 30 years who is not my size. Jerry is physically unimposing, from a distance, if you don't know him. True, he's not tall, honestly, I have no idea how tall he is or isn't. It's never occurred to me to ask.
He just doesn't seem his true height to me.
As old Army buddies do, we can go years without seeing each other. During this interlude, I forget about his true size, I think of him as Jerry, much larger in character than physical size. Consequently, I am always surprised when we see each other again how much smaller he seems physically than I remember him. I never envision him his true, physical size. That just isn't him.
Jerry's physical size does not define him. I don't know that it ever did. I can't see him ever letting something that insignificant define him, he defines himself. I have seen him explain to others, worried about their physical stature to quit complaining when they are taller than him. While others may let their physical size affect their lives, like the character in the show did, and ruin their lives, Jerry has not. Jerry's joi de vivre is infectious. He loves life and lives it like those that know it is not a given live their lives. He's a man of God, he's a husband, he's a father, he's a funny, good guy. And he's my friend.
He is who he is and he walks through life just like I or anyone else. He defines his life, not his circumstances.
A couple from our wedding, still friends who are similarly blessed without the burden of being overly tall. They are both similar to Jerry, I don't remember them as their true size until we get together again. Then I am reminded that their true, physical size is not their "real size" as I always think of them. That aspect of their lives does not define them and their world, they define it by their force of character and the way that they live.
All three of them do, however, walk in my lee for to enjoy the goodly shade and windbreak thereof. A fact that took me years to become aware of.
What are friends for?
And so, I felt sorry for the character that his life, and ultimately his death, were defined by limitations that he imposed upon himself. It's too bad he never met Jerry or my other friends to learn how good life can be. It's too bad that he insisted that his actual size had to be so limiting and defining.
And Sunday night I climbed into bed, fully bundled up with flannel jammies. And socks. And flannel sheets. And blankets.
I climbed into my normally warm, northern New England bed. And shivered.
My wife regards me as a wondrous generator of BTUs during the colder months. I throw off heat like a brand new paratrooper losing singles in a strip club. Can't seem to shed them fast enough.
Something she finds useful on sub-zero nights up here in Northern Vermont.
But not Sunday evening. I lay there shivering in my fever despite my nice, warm bed.
My normal routine is to climb into bed and lay down on my back. Shortly thereafter, Kaylie, one of our cats, comes in to join me. I lift the covers with my right arm allowing her to walk down my side, turn around at my hip, then walk back up to my arm. She lays her head on my arm, then lies down next to me. I lower my arm over her, tucking the covers in around her neck. She rolls into me and we both drift off to sleep.
Kaylie is about 13 now and her bones prefer my warmth, so she rolls into my nice, warm body and is able to sleep warm and comfortable. Sunday night when Kaylie rolled into me, that was just the extra heat that I needed. Once I felt the body heat from all twelve pounds of her up against my 200, I warmed up and fell asleep.
That little old cat, who normally finds me her soothing source of heat on cold days and nights, provided me the warmth and comfort that I needed on Sunday night in my feverish state.
Sunday night, my "little buddy" was big enough for me when I needed her.