For, since her own father… who, when he seemed about to
recover, suddenly felt the icy hand of death upon him,…
With apologies to Michael Palin.
People who came into this saga of career-ending injury in the middle of the show have asked me to comment as to what exactly are the current symptoms that prevent me from blazing new trails on the six string. I call it ‘the icy hand of death‘. Basically, it comes down to the fact that my thumb has a short span of attention.
The good news is that, with a lot of practice (and hand lotion), I was able to get pretty much all the twiddling capacity back in my thumb. However, what happens now is that, after about five minutes of continuous twiddling, either with the up/down motion of a pick or via fingerpicking, my thumb seizes. I mean it just stops moving. And it refuses to re-start without a good twenty minutes of rest. If you’ve ever lifted weights, you do that last ‘rep’ and your muscles just give out then you know what I’m talking about.
But unlike weight training, it’s not like it gives me much notice before this happens—oh no. I get about thirty seconds of warning (a sharp pain like a charlie-horse) that the song is about to end. It reminds me of Ultra Man who’s ‘heart light’ would start to blink when he was about to run out of solar juice.
During my final solo shows last year I would try to make this event look like a part of the act. I was smooth and artful in the way I would stop songs suddenly in the middle of the second verse with a really emotional pose that screamed ‘I meant to do that.’ Yessiree, Bob.
So that’s where we are. For the most part I can still record just fine…er… so long as I get it ‘right’ on the first or second take. 😀 But taking it on the road? According to my latest surgical review? Not gonna happen. But I’ll keep workin’ on it.
The reason I keep at it (other than the fact that music is my life) is that there have been cases where various, seemingly intractible hand conditions (like focal dystonia) have resolved themselves even after years of struggle. It’s a long shot, and I ain’t holdin’ my breath, but it’s something I’ll keep working at as I pursue other ways to keep the music flowin’.