A light column about a serious problem

A light column about a serious problem
Phyllis didn't want me to write this column – but I'm going to anyhow.

"Nobody wants to hear about your troubles," she said testily. "They expect you to write funny stuff, and this isn't funny," she added.

"I know it," I responded tactfully. "I just want to inform them of my condition, and I'll keep it light to please you," I said.


"Okay," she replied, "but I'll be reading it to see that you do."

Man, that puts restrictions on me like a Democratic Congress hands to a Republican president, and vice versa. But here goes!

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, and – like Michael Fox – I, too, have the disease. Only I don't have the tremors like Mike has.

In fact, if you see me with my cane, I look perfectly healthy. That is, before you hear me speak.

I sound like I've imbibed too much or I'm on a high, so most of the time I keep quiet.

And about this column: I can write on the typewriter, but I sure don't have a Palmer Method with a ball point pen. I can't even read my own scribbling.

(There, Phyllis, is that light enough?)

It takes me all day to write a column which I could do in an hour or so before I was diagnosed. As I said before, I'm slow, slow, SLOW!

Yet, the head is functioning okay, and I turn off stuff – like this! – which the publisher thinks is readable. So I'll keep at it for a while longer.

This week No. 1,255 for me – and I told then-publisher Bernie Hunhoff that "I'd do one or two." I've had lots of "bosses" since then.

Getting back to Parkinson's Awareness Month, it is a national effort to give the public knowledge of the malady, to point out the various ways the ailment attacks a person, the remedies available (so far it's incurable), the rehab options one has, etc.

I have Atypical Parkinson's and my dictionary says atypical is abnormal – but I'm as normal as the next guy, no matter what my wife says about me!

She wants me to be humorous in this column, so I'll wind it up with a lousy joke (which I stole):

It seems a guy said he knew lots of famous people, and another fellow challenged him to prove it.

"Okay," said the first guy. "Come to St. Peter's Square in Rome and I'll show you."

So the second fellow stood with the crowd in the square when Pope John Paul II (he had Parkinson's too) appeared on the balcony to give his annual Easter blessing to the faithful beneath him – and at his side was the first guy.

"I told you I knew famous people," the proud fellow said later. But his challenger – a Protestant – was unimpressed.

"I saw you up there," he said, "but who was that person with you?"

That's as funny as I could get in a column about Parkinson's Awareness Month.

© 2007 Robert F. Karolevitz

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