Catholic Culture Solidarity
Catholic Culture Solidarity

The Proof of My Credibility

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 16, 2011

I have a cold, my dear friends, a bad cold, and from this unfortunate fact you will learn beyond doubt that I am an authentic witness to the truth, an honest retailer of How Things Are. This is the case because I have the kind of ferocious cold which every man must loudly and frequently declare to be the worst affliction in the known universe. What, then, would such a cold do to a woman?

A woman—and this is the first and most important proof of my credibility—would ponder the mystery of the cold in her heart, say nothing about it, and get on with her responsibilities without dropping continual hints about the need for sympathy. But I am not a woman, and so naturally I want you to know about it—a second proof of my masculine authenticity.

It is true, of course—and here is a third and minor proof that I am a trustworthy witness to the very fundamentals of life—that there are as many personalities as there are persons, and so we must presume that somewhere there is a man who complains less about his cold than a woman would about the same symptoms. However, you may take my advice on this score as the final proof of my exemplary judgment: Do not place anything significant on a wager that such a man will turn up soon.

Now a woman, incredible creature that she is, sees a cold as something to be endured. I except, but only to a very small degree, those women who always think they have a surefire herbal remedy. For everyone knows such remedies work more because of the woman’s fortitude than because of any real change in symptoms they may effect. Hence even the herbally remedial woman rather more proves my point than not. I repeat that in general a woman believes she should endure a cold, and she responds accordingly.

But, Great Heavens, endurance is a foreign concept to a man except in one circumstance only. He can endure stoically, but only on the path to victory. A man sees all trials as intolerable nuisances about which Something Must Be Done. Thus he can endure considerable stress and discomfort if he has a plan of action. But without a plan of action, he tends toward despondency, and his fine nature has no recourse but to complain.

From reason and past experience, however, a man knows very well there is nothing to be done about a cold. Therefore he objects to the cold not because of its pains, but on principle: Something which cannot be effectively attacked ought not to exist. It isn’t right. And this sense of injured rectitude only causes the physical symptoms to be more bothersome. The man’s injury at the hands of a cold is an injury to the right order of things. It cuts to the very root of his role as an Upholder Of The Way Things Ought To Be.

You will admit, then, that I am indeed an Authentic Witness to reality. And this will doubtless give you pause before taking exception to anything else I might write. Rather, let your slogan be, “Mirus knows his stuff.” For you can see here that I do. And I can prove it once again. This cold stinks.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: happyseaotter8027 - Feb. 21, 2011 1:46 PM ET USA

    Lol-I love articles about the (tongue-in-cheek) differences between men and women. I'm pleased to see that you have almost reached the point where you are able to accept the simple fact that women are better than men. Read Genesis. God created His creatures in order, from the simplest to the one He created in His own image-man. So we can say that man is more important than the creatures created before him. But who was created after man? Woman. A fallacy? Sure. But also true. I rest my case.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 20, 2011 10:16 PM ET USA

    eustachius234, I have never heard of a debilitating cold... Oh, perhaps that is due to my gender ;-) I do have a male friend who "endures" colds and other illnesses with great fortitude, so there is hope for the rest of you guys.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 19, 2011 1:16 PM ET USA

    Hmmm... Just yesterday, I was wondering out loud to a woman friend why it has taken men so many millenia to recognize women as their equals. Perhaps you have touched upon an important point here, Dr. Mirus. We men may have always feared that the "slippery slope" of recognizing male and female equality may eventually lead to accepting that women may even be superior in in some ways... Yikes! Do you think we men are truly ready to deal with that?

  • Posted by: colrose18194 - Feb. 19, 2011 12:24 PM ET USA

    Gosh, I forgot about this attitude; my husband died six years ago!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 17, 2011 7:54 AM ET USA

    Very cute :) And all this time, we women just thought you guys were big babies when you got sick. Turns out you are apparently just railing at the unjust invasion of an invisible foe ;) Thanks for giving me a giggle this morning!

  • Posted by: spledant7672 - Feb. 16, 2011 6:40 PM ET USA

    Nature abhors a man at rest, Jeff. Enjoy the permission to do so that a cold affords you.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 16, 2011 4:33 PM ET USA

    Had the same experience recently, and was wondering why my wife never gets debilitating colds. She said she just doesn't have time to deal with a cold and just soldiers on.