Dear Tourette’s…

Posted: January 17, 2011 in Tourettes
Tags: , ,

As I sit here squirming around my just-barely-in-the-wrong-spot-but-that’s-enough-to-drive-me-crazy-anyway belt, I can’t help but reminisce about our relationship.

Remember the first time we met? Oh what a strange day that was.

I was a kid. Maybe 10 years old. Could’ve been 11. You know, annoying and hyperactive and full of bullshit. That age.

For months, Mom kept asking me, “Why are you doing that?” Of course, I was completely oblivious to the meaning of this particular “that”, since, as far as I knew, I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. In my piercing pipsqueak voice, I steadfastly denied any knowledge of bizarre spastic motions. What was she talking about?

“That neck thing,” she’d say.

“What neck thing?”

That. What you just did.”

“What? I didn’t do anything.”

“There! You just did it again!”

“Did what?”

And so on, and so forth. You were so shy back then, Tourette’s. Can I call you T? I’m gonna call you T. T-Dawg. T-Bone. T-Money. Okay, just T. You were so shy, T. Painfully shy. You couldn’t even come up and say hello.

Anyway, they say seeing is believing. And when your kid’s a stubborn little know-it-all punk, they say seeing is only believing if it’s verifiable video-taped evidence. Mom was smart enough to stay ahead of the curve. Sure enough, one day she set up a hidden video camera to film me. Silently it rolled as I sat mesmerized in front of the TV, blissfully unaware of the espionage.

The next time she asked me why I was doing that, and I told her I didn’t know what that could possibly be, she had the tape ready to roll. So I watched myself twitch on tape. I’d pull my neck up like a tortoise trying to avoid a kiss, half my face locked in a rictus grimace. Once, twice, sometimes even three times a minute. One side, then the other. Always balancing out. Two times on the left? Then two times on the right, of course. Twitch. Twitch. Twitch.

“That!” Mom said. “That’s what I’m talking about. Why are you doing that?”

Well, quite honestly, Mom, I wasn’t really aware I was doing that. I mean, I knew my neck felt uncomfortable. I constantly felt the need to shift it around inside my t-shirt collars. But this? Here, for the first time, I sat face to face with my good friend T. And I had no idea we were even buds.

Hell, I didn’t even know you existed at that point, T. And even if I did, I wouldn’t have known it was you smacking me around on that tape. You have to forgive me. Everyone thinks you show up randomly barking profanity. I’m not sure what I knew about you back then — I may or may not have known about the whole swearing thing — but I definitely didn’t know you were my puppeteering dance partner. Yet there I was, on the TV screen, twisting my neck about like a sponge being wrung dry.

Ah, it almost makes me want to do the neck-face twitch again, just for old time’s sake. NOT. I really am glad that you decided to do a different dance, you know. The neck-face thing kinda made me look like a detoxing junkie staring forlornly out of a psych ward window. Now I’ve got the neck-shoulder roll and the stomach crunch, and maybe the occasional arm shake, but these things really aren’t that bad. I can hide them for the most part.

You’re a goof, T. Snuck up on me like a ghost, really. Yeah, that first time was a laugh and a half. First the tape, and a few months later, the diagnosis. And here we are, nearly two decades later, still reminiscing.

Good times. Good times.


Sarcastically yours,


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