Thursday, September 21, 2023

Kiss the Clock

A small confession. I’m a creature of whimsical little superstitions. Like saying “hares” as my last word on the last day of each month and “rabbit” as my first word the next morning. Holding my breath through tunnels. Knocking on wood. And so on.


One of them that my children taught me is “kiss the clock.” When all the digits are the same—like 1:11 or 4:44— you kiss the clock (in a car, kiss your hand and touch the clock)— and make a wish. (This works much better with digital timepieces!). I’m surprised how often it happens that I happen to glance at the clock and it’s ready to be kissed.


What do I wish for? These days, just one thing only. Health. I feel confident I can take care of the things I can control— perseverance, aiming for eloquence, working toward musical coherence, creating instant communities when teaching. But for me, so much of the above depends upon a body functioning in robust health. 


I often read about notable creators who suffered from poor health their whole life. The composer Chopin, the poet Rilke, the philosopher Nietzche, for starters. I don’t know how they did what they did while battling illness and pain. I don’t think I could. 


And then I looked up celebrities battling health issues today—chronic pain, diabetes, lupus, Lyme’s disease, Parkinson’s, depression and more— and was surprised by some of the people on the list—George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Venus Williams, Michael J. Fox, Michael Phelps and more. My hat’s off to them all.


Meanwhile, I’ll keep kissing the clock as I can— but writing this at 8:15 in the morning, I’ll have to wait until 10:10. 


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