Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Droofus Day

We have had an entire season’s worth of illness roll through our house in recent weeks – a nasty version of what medical professionals call “the crud,” complete with fever, chills, aches, congestion, sneezing, blowing and all the rest. At a certain point you want to have the house fumigated, or perhaps burned to the ground, just to get a fresh start. But I should not complain, as I am at least a week further into recovery than my wife is. I have already had my Droofus Day, and she has yet to celebrate hers.

We learned about Droofus Day from our friends Martin and Karen, in whose household it is an institution. The term comes from a children’s book by Bill Peet titled “How Droofus the Dragon Lost his Head.” It was published a bit too late for our children, but it was a book that Martin and Karen’s kids wanted to hear over and over again. I have not read the book, but as I understand it Droofus, the youngest and smallest dragon in his pack (do dragons travel in packs?), fell behind the others and became lost. But Droofus made lots of new friends among the woodland creatures and essentially established a new and gentler dragon lifestyle (I gather his herd was a rather nasty lot).

But one day Droofus suffered some sort of mid-air collision (the details are fuzzy in my mind) and plummeted to the earth, unconscious. I have seen the picture, and Droofus was definitely in rough shape. Day after day he lay there, unmoving, while his little woodland friends kept vigil. Then one morning Droofus opened his eyes, rose to his feet, and pulled himself back together while his little friends rejoiced. Droofus was back!

That is how our friends came to employ the term “Droofus Day” to describe the day in the course of an illness where you wake up, not completely recovered but knowing the very worst is behind you. Karen solemnly describes Droofus Day as “the most personal of all holidays.” For me, Droofus Day came the morning my fever broke. I still had the crud, but I felt like a human being again.

I came to work and told a friend that it was my Droofus Day, which required an explanation. After hearing the tale she nodded her head: “We needed a term to describe that day.”

I wonder if it could not be generalized to describe any number of situations where we have suffered trials and tribulations but have finally reached the turning point. “A panel of leading economic experts report that while the economy will remain sluggish and unemployment high for the next two quarters, they believe that last Wednesday was Droofus Day.” Bad times and challenging circumstances do not normally end all at once – often the improvement is so slow that we have a hard time seeing it. But somewhere in there is Droofus Day, and Droofus Day should be celebrated.


Anonymous said...

John, I thought preachers got "the crud" following the Easter service, not before!

Enjoy your birthday tomorrow, # 62.


rick in cos said...

As always, taking inspiration from your words, I shall wait and pray for the day when Droofus Day hits my great organization, knowing that while the road to recovery will be long, it will at least, as of that day, be more downhill than up...