Monday, April 20, 2009

I’m impatient. I want my full sense of taste back. I want the swelling to go down and go away so I can see what I am going to look like now. I want a new dental setup so I can chew real food again.  I want my leg to stop feeling weird and numb and weak.

I feel slightly ashamed of this, because I should be grateful and gleeful. After all, a few short weeks ago I was climbing the walls of a deep dark place in my mind, fearing terrible new ordeals and trials. Cancer had returned. I was facing more long, serious surgery and reconstruction. My thirty-year journey through the desert toward this new promised land was ending, with no idea what I would face when I reached my new destination.

And then, when the Promised Land did show up, it was beautiful. No serious after-effects from the surgery. No involvement with the jawbone, and thus no awful complications. The plastic surgeon did amazing things with his part of the surgery, making my breathing much better, getting rid of some old scar tissue and making me look and feel better for the next thirty years. Making my eating and swallowing better with a tissue implant into the floor of my mouth. No involvement in the lymph nodes or surrounding tissue. All clean, all done, all healed. Nothing left but to rest, heal, and go back for followup stuff.

Next stop, a way to perhaps speak again…

So, why am I not happy and gay, to quote W.C. Fields? I am, but I am having to get used to the concept. After gearing up, girding myself, setting my muscles and my mind for a blow, the blow went past and nothing happened and here I am sipping coffee in my little sweet office at my beautiful home tapping out my thoughts like any old guy.

It is sort of like when they tell you a tornado is coming, and you do all the stuff you are supposed to do, the candles and foodstuffs and blankets and flashlights and battery radios and a good bottle of cognac and you run down into the wine cellar and the guy says “oops, already past, never mind”.  Ok. Well, then. Let’s see, what were we going to make for supper?

Or in football where you see the middle linebacker coming at you to smash your brains out and you duck and weave just in time for him to miss you…

I think some people are wired to be positive and to go to the higher place every time. I seem to be wired to go to the place I am in and then whine about it. I am not proud of that, it is just an observation. It drives the positive types crazy. I have tried all my life to change this, and get better about it, but it is a little bit like trying to stop being Woody Allen; good luck. I am one of the few human beings who could have his life, his face, his voice, and his sense of taste handed back to him after a close shave and then whine because I have a swollen place on my leg. And then whine about being such a whiner.

Another peculiarity about being this me is that almost nothing of what I say is really true. I seem to have several “me’s” and the one I describe above is only one of them. I also have the tough-as-nails me that can do anything required and not give a damn, and just did. I have the completely happy me that is in fact out walking in the rain right now in the Texas Hill Country and so grateful and joyful that it would make a puppy sick. The whiner me is just one facet of the total boy, but one that I must address as I rotate around to the next me in the circle. I have the happy, positive, laughing me that is ready for the next stage of what has turned out to be a rather remarkable life after worrying for years that I would be just average and not turn out well.  I have the guy who goes out to a restaurant to celebrate with friends over a good bottle of Rasteau and is deeply grateful for every moment of life, of friendship, of happiness that comes his way.

Are we all built this way? Probably. I guess the trick lies in being able to choose the one that will lift you, take you up instead of down, do some good for somebody else along the way.

Although the thought just occurred to me that I may be experiencing the curse of the actor, who is equally adept at “feeling” all sorts of ways but sometimes doesn’t know which one is real, or even if there ever is a real one.  Am I an actor who is able to sort his personality into distinct types and then inhabit any one of them at will? This could explain a lot of things. Hmmm…

5 comments:

Jolie Morgan Musick said...

If you weren't multi-faceted you'd be rather banal and I'd wonder if I was adopted.

Randy Kirchhof said...

Perhaps you just know yourself very well -- and to paraphrase that wonderful scene in "The Color Of Money", you know how to be yourself on purpose.I'm really happy to see that you're doing well.

r

Joe Gracey said...

Uh, Jolie, I forgot to tell you something...

Richard said...

I know who this guy is, the one who whines....don't you mean who
"wines."

Anonymous said...

Joe - Can't believe you are still going through this shit after all this time. It would be hard to keep a positive spin on it, I imagine. My brother is 50 years old and has been suffering through debilitating Parkinson's Disease for a good 15 years and has done it all to try to get back to his old self. I guess what I'm saying is you just got to keep on keeping on. Your pal, CINDY (Formerly Little) TATUM