Comedy is Tragedy plus Time

Although you might not normally put it quite like that. Not unless you’ve been absorbed in your own personal tragedy for a very long time. Tragedy + Time. That’s exactly how Michael J. Fox put it in an interview, and he certainly knows what he’s talking about. He makes light of it; he’s not going to dwell on his tragedy. Not anymore. Because his tragedy, Parkinson’s, lasts a lifetime. You never hear him say that Parkinson’s is funny though. Even if you’ve had it for 20 years. Jokes about Parkinson’s are just not funny. There’s a fine line between joking about Parkinson’s and joking about coping with Parkinson’s. You can only cope with a chronic, progressive disease if you have it yourself. Similarly, you can only joke about coping with that disease, if you have it yourself. I’d hate to think of someone else making a joke about my sluggish hand, for example. But, I myself, can joke about Parkinson’s. Like when my husband asks me to do this, that or the other, and I quip that my multitasking skills are no longer up to it. Or, I shake my head violently to the left, when I need to do something particularly taxing. Why??? Well, my left-hand dopamine supply is running out, and who knows, maybe this way I can send some from the right to the left?
I know it’s absurd.
Maybe you can only make jokes about coping with your illness, if your illness is not a life-and-death struggle. If you know that you still have ‘time’. Time enough for jokes. Or, conversely: because you know that you still have plenty of time, or at least have no reason to doubt that, you simply have to make jokes in order to occasionally lighten the load. Because Parkinson’s lasts an incredibly long time. And, eventually everything gets slower, so they tell me. How nice.

Better start collecting jokes books now to paaaaasss the tiiiiiiiimeeee.