Living Columns & Blogs

A new one at No. 1

Thomas Holt’s “Meadowland” is now The Cool Kid’s favorite novel.
Thomas Holt’s “Meadowland” is now The Cool Kid’s favorite novel.

As the world held its collective breath, I struggled through a summer cold that lingered like a righteous resentment.

This was a few weeks ago. You could have called and asked if there was anything you could do for me, but I guess you and honor remain strangers. Big surprise.

When I’m sick, I like to make everyone sick of me. I moaned to Mrs. Cool Kid. I moaned to my boss and co-workers. I pulled my ailing body and soul out of bed and drove around town, rolling down my window at stop lights and moaning to people in the cars beside mine.

All that felt good. And that’s what you’ve got to do when you’re sick — find things that feel good.

Things like reading.

But I had trouble concentrating, trouble following what I was reading. It was frustrating.

So I figured what I needed to do was read a book I’d read before, one I really loved.

“Meadowland” popped first in my mind. But then I thought, “I read that just a couple of months ago for what must have been the fifth or sixth time.”

Set in the 11th century, Thomas Holt’s “Meadowland” is both gritty and hilarious as it tells the story of two Vikings who keep making disastrous journeys to North America, only to have to hightail it back to Greenland where they are constantly involved in the affairs of Leif Erikson’s extended family.

It’s a marvelous read. But I had just re-read it. I didn’t really want to read it again, did I? That didn’t seem to make sense.

But two things kept bouncing around my mind:

1. I really wanted to read “Meadowland” again.

2. The next time you’re sick, the only chance you have of me calling to check up on you is a fat chance.

So I started reading “Meadowland” again. And that’s when I realized it was my all-time favorite novel. For 30 years, Orson Scott Card’s “Speaker for the Dead” had been my favorite. But no more. It was “Meadowland” now.

And the day after that realization, my illness fled. I was whole again.

By the way, neither your card nor flowers have arrived yet.