Five Years of Writing This Column. What a Surprise
Compared with living with multiple sclerosis (MS), the anxiety of what on water (Earth has always struck me as a misnomer as water comprises 71% of our planet’s surface) I’m going to write about next week is but a slight fluttering. Yer, yer, I know; underneath it’s really turtles all the way down.
In fact, if I didn’t actually have to write about MS, a column would take my mind right off my illness. A right-write dilemma. But you’ve got to go where the work is. Especially when my commute is thankfully these days only to the desk in my bedroom. Still, that’s exactly how I started out as a freelance hack 40 years ago. Who knew?
Adapting the words “Five Years” from my headline, the first track from Bowie’s seminal “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” seems joyfully apposite. Especially as this is the album that finally broke him exactly 50 years ago this week. Up to that point, despite this being his fifth album, he was only known to the public as a one-hit wonder for the perceived novelty single “Space Oddity,” which eventually hit No. 5 in the U.K. singles chart two months after Neil Armstrong took his giant leap. Bowie had only managed a little hop on the spot.
Oh, yes, that’s better — my psyche enjoyed this interlude.
Better get to MS, hey, oh editor who must be obeyed.
It luckily struck me that as Bowie created personae, we are forced to do the same thing.
At root we might feel we are the same person, but are we really? MS has changed me. Instead of being responsible for those around me, I’m now their responsibility. As I can no longer put myself to bed, I have an early bedtime. Food is prepared for me. Can no longer safely venture anywhere on my lonesome. Hey, I once hitchhiked the entire Trans-Canadian Highway. That’s coast to coast, folks.
Instead, I’ve reverted to childhood.
I’m an adult aware of responsibilities — so there’s no kicking and screaming, pleading or mewling. Instead, special dispensation is granted for the Championship League (best football club team in Europe) final when an English team is playing. Slightly dodgy if it goes to extra time and penalties — that’s an additional hour, youse American folks.
Still, I somehow manage to continuously miss this bedtime boundary. Maybe the child is back?
At the end of his Ziggy tour, Bowie famously killed off the character.
If only it were that easy.
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