Whenever I have a little bad luck, I try to remind myself of 2 key things: first, I am an incredibly lucky man; second, my problems are pretty tiny compared to the extent of human problems on our amazing, warming planet. My luck goes way back to my birth, which was the result of a pregnancy that was not only unplanned, but incredibly unlikely. (This is not the place to share the full story, but let's just say that it's pretty serendipitously weird that my biological parents ever had sex with each other. I believe much more than alcohol must have been involved.) So when I get a little bad luck--like two cases of nasty poison ivy in one summer--I think, well, I shouldn't complain. After all, I'm lucky to be here.
If that doesn't work, I think about what a self-pitying schlemiel I would be to feel bad about my poison ivy, when so many people around the world are struggling to make sense of their lives amidst devastating losses or unthinkable hardships. How can an itchy leg compare to losing your teenage son or daughter at the hands of some fascist with a bomb, a gun, and a 1,500 page manifesto of hate?
(I've only had the privilege of knowing one Norwegian person--Maghnild Reiso. She was a student at an international language school where I worked in Boston, from 2003-2004. She had dreadlocks; she was a foot taller than me; she was awesome.)
Or I can reflect on what enormous problems the planet is facing. The climate change crisis can make even the debt ceiling crisis seem pretty trivial. Heard an interesting interview with Heidi Cullen on NPR today, about her new book, The Weather of the Future. This was a reminder that heat waves like the current one are likely to become the "new normal" in the decades to come--along with all sorts of other forms of extreme weather.
So yeah--I guess I'll just apply some Caladryl, suck it up, and march on.