Essay: The Secret Life of the Common Cold

"Do you know what it is to succumb to an insurmountable day mare—a whoresome lethargy—an indisposition to do anything—a total deadness and distaste—a suspension of vitality—an indifference to locality—a numb soporifical goodfornothingness—an ossification all over—an oyster-like insensibility to the passing events—a mind stupor—a brawny defiance to the needles of a thrusting-in conscience?"

Charles Lamb groaned forth that question in the 19th century, but anybody in any epoch ought to be able to answer it with a simple yes. Anybody, that is, who has ever had a cold.

Even people who have never had a cold, if any there be, are pretty likely to...

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