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Grapevine : December 2011
W hen considering medication side- effects—nausea, vomiting, consti- pation, diarrhea, headache, tired- ness, blurred vision, to recite some of the more charming possibilities—I scoff. Admittedly, my reaction is a personal bias unrelated to pharma- ceutical authority. The fact that I secretly desire to flaunt my excellent health (and make it known I have no use for drugs more potent than aspi- rin), is realized by a few who toler- ate my egotism, question my motives A wild roundhouse blow literally socks him into sobriety and love me anyway. I celebrated my 70th birthday with special excitement, like I had beaten the old-age odds—better than winning the lottery! Now, closing in on 80, I am more aware than ever that long life and good health are gifts and nothing to brag about. In my youth, such gifts went unrecognized. The thought that my birth defect, cerebral palsy, might be a special endowment, a gift rather than a curse, was beyond my un- derstanding. As you might imagine, growing up as a crippled kid played games with my psyche: I went from playing super gimp, to resenting spe- cial treatment, to using my handicap as an excuse for bratty behavior. This followed me into adulthood, through 10 years of marriage and right up to the age of 37 when I joined AA. When the turnaround came, it was not the result of an epiphany, idle whim or bad hangover, but rath- er a consequence of my self-centered behavior. I had finally enraged my fed-up wife enough for her to take a swing at me when I arrived home OLD-TIMERS Lucky punch 48 December 2011 GRAPE_48-50.indd 48 10/28/11 2:25 PM