Who remembers the first time they were allowed to drive with no other adult in the car? For me this happened when my dad was having a minor surgery to correct Dupuytren's contracture, except that since he was a pretty severe diabetic no surgery on him was really that minor. The doctors who were performing the surgery were the same ones who had set my broken arm in a cast the year before. Indeed, if memory serves, my dad got his hand problem diagnosed on one of the check up visits for my wrist fracture. At the time of my dad's surgery, my mom was already at Deepdale hospital in Little Neck. She called home. Either she wanted me there just for the moral support or she wanted me to bring some stuff from home that my dad needed. That part I don't recall. I do remember it was snowing lightly outside. I made the drive without incident.
Heredity is a strange thing. You wonder how much of what shows up was there inside the person all along and what is due to upbringing. Who knows? This weekend both boys were home for brunch yesterday. In talking with them you could tell that they each have a bit of the cheapskate in them. I have that too. My dad had it, big time. I'm delighted to see it in my kids, actually. It doesn't mean you can't be generous with others. It does mean that most of the time you aren't overly indulgent on yourself.
For the last year or two I seem to have the start of Dupuytren's contracture in my right hand. There is a tendon in my palm between the pinkie and ring finger that seems to be popping out of the skin. It's an eye sore, but mainly it doesn't hurt. I do have stiffness in the right shoulder, which does hurt on occasion. Some combination of arthritis and the aftermath of rotator cuff repair is the cause. Then there's a hernia in my belly button. And the big toe on my left foot feels like its permanently stubbed. Yet none of this is too debilitating. Everything is copacetic. It was an expression that my dad used a lot. It's becoming my expression now. I mean it as a kind of mantra. We all have tsoris. We should be able to enjoy life, nonetheless.
A lot is being said these days about the anger that is out there. Our politics seems to be about that now. Maybe the anger can be put toward a constructive purpose. I don't know. But I do know me, well enough to understand that ongoing anger would put me on the path to depression. So I want something else - a little bit of humor, a touch of joy, some spark of creativity, anything that produces delight. Everything is copacetic says those things should be ordinary. It also says that those are the things which should occupy our minds.
Given all the remakes of movies and TV shows I wonder why now we don't have a remake of Pat Paulsen for President. There is plenty of humorous satire out there. That genre has found its place in the popular culture. But to me much of it is too vindictive. There should be a way to make fun of the pols without ripping them. Surely that is harder. True wit is an art.
I guess I'm suffering from Gail Collins being on book leave. She is a true master of the humorous understatement. But even her most recent columns had more bite than is her usual way, with anger getting the upper hand.
Maybe everything is not copacetic after all. Perish the thought.