A new Goldman State Podcast drops every Friday!

Dec 22, 2023

Cold Comfort Indeed!

Hits and myths for the season

By Ed Goldman

Why is it that until we catch a cold we forget everything about having had one? Think about all the days, months or even years you woke up in the morning cold-free and thought nothing of it. It’s a little like driving through an intersection and thinking, “Hmm. No accident today.”

Until last month I had gone a couple of years without a cold. Oh, there was a light dusting of COVID somewhere in there and sure, its symptoms were similar to those of a cold. But I talked myself into believing that the COVID attack was a one-off, not a reliable malady that would make many return engagements throughout my life. That may be wishful thinking, according to epidemiologists, but I’m sticking to it.

Edgy Cartoon


What I always hate about colds is that they disrupt the one thing my body most craves: bedrest. This was complicated when I went online to look up my symptoms and was shaken by an article in my nuclear Spam folder indicating that my “sleep position” (I’m in favor of it!) may help promote dementia. This is alarming on so many levels, not the least of which is, Doesn’t anyone vet these cuckoo-clock theories? 

I’d be happy to head up a task force to do so. Our debunking agenda would include the following:

  1. The crop circles in New Mexico, supposedly created by a superior race of outer-space aliens long, long ago. Absurd! Kevin Costner created them in “Field of Dreams.” And not in Roswell, New Mexico but in Dyersville, Iowa. And they weren’t crop circles, it was a baseball stadium. Then Kevin went on to kill Frank Nitti, Al Capone’s main button man, in Chicago. Do I have to do all the work, people?
  2. Vitamin C prevents colds. Listen, I drink two glasses of fresh orange juice every morning and eat half a grapefruit several mornings each week. Last month I caught a severe head cold. OK, it wasn’t severe. In her later years, my mom said that every condition she contracted was “severe.” It made us all sit up and take notice, so I thought I’d use it to get some sympathy from you. In fact, I’m not even sure why I referred to it as a “head” cold. To my knowledge, your head is where colds take up residence. No one ever came down with an arm cold—and certainly not a “severe” one.
  1. Doing crossword puzzles daily helps stave off Alzheimer’s Disease. The jury’s still out on this one. But speaking from personal experience, all my daily crosswording does is make me somewhat unpleasant to play Scrabble with. (Playing Scrabble nightly, on the other hand, helps stave off romantic relationships.)
  2. You’ll be healthier if you drink 64 ounces of water every day. Now, this could be possible since you’ll be running to the bathroom so often you’ll probably burn off a few carbs.
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  1. Fresh fruits and vegetables are better for you than canned or frozen. Untrue. They just tasteone hell of a lot better. Exhibit A: Canned fruit “cocktail,” the sorriest amalgam of mushy grapes, cherries, pears and God-only-knows-what-else, often served in “heavy syrup.” That would be a mixture of water, corn syrup and sugar, which has almost as many calories as the mushy fruit.
  2. Holiday bonus! The tryptophan in turkey meat causes drowsiness. Nope. It’s how much other stuff you cram into your craw that makes you want to take a nap after Christmas dinner—and if you do, to be excused from doing the dishes. Especially the severe ones.

Don’t forget! A new Goldman State Podcast drops every Friday!


Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).