Monday, October 09, 2006

Confessions of an Ailing Marxist

Last night my husband and I went to see one of his former saxophone teachers perform with a group called "Ballin' the Jack". They're a jazz group and they do a tribute to the Marx Brothers that's just fantastic! Crammed into the back room of a small club in Brooklyn on a Sunday night, it feels very NYC to witness such creative and professional musicians in action. You find yourself saying "Only in New York" a few times.

And I find such Marx-related things very grounding. My brothers and I used to watch Comedy Classics every Sunday morning and it was always a treat when that day's selection was a Marx Brothers movie. I have vivid recollections of my younger brother, Merlin, and I laughing hysterically at the football game scene in Horse Feathers. Ah yes... the days when slipping on a banana peel was the ultimate in humor. And who knows, maybe that's why I'm so dedicated to Sundays and Bears games to this very day.

But my Marx Brothers fascination didn't end with those Sunday morning gigglefests. When I was in Junior High I read "Harpo Speaks" for a book report and it touched me deeply. I've read it several times over the course of my life and each time find as much inspiration as some might find in the I Ching. He lived a joyful life despite the obstacles of poverty... a life full of humor and grace. A life that I admire and seek to emulate, though tend to fall short. So it is events like last night that serve as a reminder and bring me back to that tenet of Marxist belief: "Don't take life too seriously."

I needed that reminder because over the past few days I've been struggling with some significant pain. More than I've ever had from my little daily problems that arise from the plethora of illnesses this old bod harbors. I also realized some major mistakes that I've made at work and how I will compensate for them is worrying me. I'm even more worried about the fact that I may have made these errors for MS-related reasons.

Over the past couple years, I simply feel my health slipping away in small increments. So small that they are barely noticable on a daily basis, yet become apparent over the long term or when I make a cognitive slip that wreaks havoc on the job. I guess I just have to let go and not worry. Fix the mistake and move on. Somehow it's not that easy for me... such are the perils of a perfectionist facing the imperfections that disease can bring.

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