Monday, August 13, 2012

DWMS (Dancing with MS)

We Martins are a partying lot, and dance like the Jacksons.  Mostly Andrew and Mahalia Jackson, but Jacksons nonetheless.  All seriousness aside, my parents could cut a rug back in the day, and my sister was pictured in her high school yearbook as a Shindig go-go dancer.  If you have no idea what a go-go dancer is, and certainly, no idea at all what Shindig is or was, find your local baby boomer.  We're the ones sitting in the mall drinking coffee (none of that Barstucks crap for me, buddy) in the food court and complaining.

One of my favorite memories of my siblings was them dancing at a wedding, I don't remember whose, and twisting the night away.  Soon my sister would be gone and the dancing would stop.

I'd have to carry on on my own.  Easy, of course, because, contrary to popular thought, Michael Jackson is not dead.

He lives on...

in me....

Okay, there's no video here of my fancy moves because, well, I'm not quite ready to show that yet.  Here's the story.  It was the union holiday party in 2009, and Jackie and I attended along with my staff. Normally I wouldn't attend these kind of things, because, well, maybe I just wanted to keep a distance between myself and other county workers, not that I felt better than them, but my world was just different.  Sit around and watch them drink? Listen to them complain about significant others? Kids? Significant others' kids?  Nah.  Okay, so maybe there was some superiority in there.

Until I started my unit and I became involved in the lives of these four women, my staff.  We were in our own world, separate from the actual agency, different address, and dealing with a specific group of clients.  As the months went by we got to know each other better, and since I was right on the floor with them, and not sitting in an office, I could hear the banter, the questions and concerns, and even when they needed each other to deal with a difficult situation.  I became more and more delighted with what I saw, and grew in respect for my staff and what they accomplished.  My kids.

So when the holiday party came up, they asked if Jackie and I would attend and we did.  The evening was fine and we toasted our success, ate and danced.  Naturally I hit the dance floor (I am a Martin, too) and dazzled the folks with my Michael Jackson moves to "Billie Jean".  Yep this plus fifty slightly chubby bald guy can moonwalk, crotch grab, flip his hat, and everything you see Michael do above.  Not near as well, of course.  But I hold my own.  So the crowd applauded, and were stunned that this guy who was all over the office, never said a word, but fixed your computer in two seconds, actually did other stuff.

I enjoyed the dance, and plopped down in my chair, and my legs went numb.  That was the real beginning of MS, the real thought that something was wrong, that I'd better get a doctor, and here I am two and half years later looking at this:


That's about as far as I got today, looking out my den window at the lawn and my tool shed because on Saturday, one of my staff got married, and we were invited to the wedding.  We did what you do at weddings, ate, drank, pictures and pictures, hugged old friends, told stories and laughed.  And danced.  The true celebrations of life.

I was out on the dance floor bouncing around to "Sweet Caroline" (Red Sox fans-if we have nothing else, we have that) and then heard "Billie Jean" begin.  My bipolar brain said "Do it again.  Go ahead.  I double dog dare you. Everyone will be looking at you and you can be the center of attention.  Manic time. Here we go."  The wiser but sadder MS part of the brain merely said "You can if you want, but you'll pay for it.  You know that."  The evil myelin eating monster merely growled like the Hulk and looked for more neurons to munch in my brain.

I said to my wife "This is where I came in." and headed for the door, and home.

But until I got off the dance floor, I moonwalked off, baby.  People gawked, but their faces were unfamiliar.  Most faces are now, but even the few who I still could recognize, clapped as we departed.

And I did pay for it.  Man, Sunday I was slower than a turtle on Prozac.  Sat and watched ball games, and the Olympics. Rallied for coffee, and then plop.  And Monday morning, see above picture.  I admit that its a nice scene, always cool and inviting even in the warmest weather.  And I did actually mow that lawn. No moonwalking.

The moral of the story is that you still need to dance, even if its only in your head.  I saw that old song-

and I hope you dance.

And that video of me is around someplace.  Right now its my turn to go to the mall and grumble with other middle aged dudes.

More to come soon.  Thank you, Johnny Pesky.  I hope you and Ted Williams are fishing someplace.

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