Wednesday, May 18, 2022


According to the test, I don’t have Covid — and thank goodness for that. However, I do have a good old-fashioned cold, certainly courtesy of 12-hours in an enclosed tube with a couple of hundred people, all masked, but many of them coughing. Combined with no sleep and an immune system that begged me to stop. 


As confessed recently, my sense of resilience, my capacity for patience, my ability to accept what the world offers, seems to have diminished as I age. And related to that is my whiny, whimpy self that hates being sick. Well, that’s always been true, but since I’ve gotten exactly one cold in over two years and that for only two days, I’m not used to this feeling.


“Compare and despair” is sometimes wise counsel, but I can’t help think about some extraordinary artists I admire who struggled with health their whole life. I’m thinking of the artist Frida Kahlo, bedridden as a child from polio and then again in a later bus accident. Painter Touluse-Lautrec and jazz pianist Michel Petrucianni, both whom suffered from a rare bone disease in which their bones kept breaking and neither grew taller than five feet. Classical composer and pianist Frederic Chopin who died at 39 and suffered ill health his whole life while composing some of the most exquisite piano music ever penned. The poet Rainier Marie Rilke who suffered from leukemia and spent much time in sanatoriums. Jazz drummer Chick Webb who had leukemia of the spine. It’s quite a list.


If you—like me— think that you have to feel well, be in tip-top health, balance your biorhythms and meticulously oversee your diet in order to accomplish something worthwhile, think again. That Chopin can compose Berceuse,  a piece that inspires, uplifts and reveals heartbreaking beauty, while feeling like crap is a lesson for us all.


So instead of lying around in bed, I’m going to the piano. Don’t expect a masterpiece— or even a minipiece— but I’m going to test out my theory. Spirit can triumph over body.


Wish me luck! 

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