You have a hernia because you have testicles

Waves of relief flooded me like light

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How was your specialness insulted?

This is the issue underlying the majority of our suffering. We are terrified of not being unique and not standing out and not being congratulated on how remarkable we are.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Either way, one of the fastest ways to puncture our veil of specialness is with a physical ailment.

Years ago at a checkup with my urologist, the doctor told me that the pain in my groin was the result of an abdominal hernia.

Shocked, I asked what might have caused my condition. Lifting weights? Singing too loudly? Working too many hours? Exercising too much? Making passionate love to my wife?

The surgeon responded very matter of factly:

You have a hernia because you have testicles.

Huh. Well then, that makes sense.

My doctor explained further:

Look, you’re a man, and men are vulnerable to this kind of injury. It happens all the time. One out of every twenty males suffers a hernia in his life. And so, it’s very routine. We perform over a hundred hernia removal surgeries every year. You’re going to be fine.

Instantly, waves of relief flooded me like light, bathing me in almost celestial glory. It never felt so good to be so unremarkable. To be so exquisitely ordinary.

It’s funny, we live in this culture where we’re all trying to out special each other, tripping over ourselves trying to prove to each other how extraordinary we are.

Durden’s classic monologue comes to mind:

You’re not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re just the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

That’s the best part about getting injured.

It makes us less interested in the story we tell about our own specialness, and more interested in our common humanity.

What if you let go of the pressure you put on yourself to be special and great?

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