At the start of 2016, long-time cohorts Cold and Fever exchanged solemn New Year's resolutions to lose weight and gain weight, respectively.
Cold admitted to having really packed on the pounds in recent decades. He pointed to the oft-touted home remedy, "Starve a fever, feed a cold," as at least partially responsible for his present unhealthy state.
"That outdated advice basically gave me liberty to eat whatever wanted," Cold explained. "Pastries, pizza pies, even ice cream if a sore throat was involved. I don't blame anyone, necessarily; people really thought that was the right thing to do. But as a result, now I look like a sumo wrestler. A really fat one."
Cold recounted that, for him, a turning point came on New Year's Eve, when he was lured by visiting relatives Sinus Infection and UTI to ring in the New Year in that rowdiest (and arguably squarest) of squares, Times Square. A night of stuffing his face with snacks proffered by well-meaning passers-by left Cold almost unable to bend over to pick up a chocolate-covered peanut cluster he'd dropped. ("I wasn't going to eat it," he clarified. "I just didn't want anyone to trip.")
But that wasn't all, said Cold. To his chagrin, when he finally did manage to bend over low enough scoop up the candy from the ground, his jeans, unable to contain his generous derriere, split right down the middle.
"And they were stretch jeans," added Cold, shaking his head (and sneezing). "Humiliating."
With that humiliation, though, said Cold, came clarity. In the very next moment, he realized that, despite the frigid winter temperatures in the Big Apple, he wasn't at all chilly. Instead, he was bloated, overheated, and even sweating from all of his celebratory overeating.
"In other words," he ruefully recalled, "I wasn't even Cold! I was losing the essence of who I really am. I was losing myself."
And, so, just after midnight on New Year's Day, a desperate, not-so-cold Cold texted his old comrade Fever - only to discover that Fever himself was also in a very bad way. Fever's friends having adopted hook, line, and sinker the standard advice to "starve a fever," the early hours of 2016 found Fever gaunt, emaciated, and borderline anorexic.
"It was clearly an unsustainable situation for us both," summarized Cold. "And we knew we had to take immediate action. Right then and there, we exchanged solemn New Year's vows to lose weight and gain weight, respectively. We knew it wouldn't be easy, but we didn't care. It had to be done."
On the first day of the New Year, Cold and Fever sat down together to discuss their respective dilemmas. The results of that conversation were highly illuminating to them both.
"We realized," said Cold, "that just because society teaches that we should starve a fever, feed a cold, doesn't mean that we ourselves have to live that way."
Here, a raging Fever chimed in enthusiastically. "Exactly! Cold and I knew that we had to start accepting some personal accountability - regardless of what anyone else did. For one, Cold pointed out to me that, even if people try to starve me, I can be more proactive in seeking out my own food."
An abashed Cold similarly noted, "And my friend Fever pointed out to me that I don't have to eat all the food that people offer me. Now, I've started giving most of it to Fever. It's a win-win."
Thus far, the ailments reported, their respective weight-loss/weight-gain plans have been working out fabulously. Cold is already feeling noticeably slimmer and, well, cooler. And, now that he has more energy, Fever has been able to do things he hasn't done in ages - like date. Fever spoke fondly of his new girlfriend, Steam, with whom he says he shares a lot in common.
"We get along great," he said warmly. "She lights my fire, fans my flame - the whole enchilada. And, like me, she's really hot."
Cold chuckled affectionately at his friend's description. "He's so cute when he talks about her. He gets so excited! I call it Feverishly excited."
Lighthearted banter about romance and relationships aside, Fever and Cold took a moment to seriously urge people to question the wisdom of commonly accepted home remedies.
"Why must we always mindlessly feed a cold?" exclaimed an indignant Cold. "Why not exercise a cold, nourish a cold with nutrient-dense foods, read a cold a freaking book? After all, people may refer to me as 'common,' but in my humble opinion, I'm anything but."
His old friend Fever wholeheartedly agreed. "There's nothing 'common' about my boy Cold. Not many people would have done what he did. I believe he saved my life. And I'll be forever grateful."
Cold and Fever added that, once they've successfully addressed their own individual health concerns, they plan to tackle larger issues, like global warming.
"Given our firsthand experience with extreme temperature fluctuations," elaborated Fever, "we should be able to contribute something significant to this important cause."
Cold feels the same way. "Climate change is a really hot topic right now, and with Fever's help, it will only get hotter." He grinned and added modestly, "I, on the other hand, will hopefully bring some coolness to the cause - and the planet."