Guest contributor: Thierry Kauffmann

Bad Advice Wednesday: Get Parkinson’s Disease

categories: Bad Advice / Cocktail Hour


Anxious Bode

-Good morning! Welcome to the writers show. Today we welcome Anxious Bode, writer, distinguished professor of panic at Frost University. Anxious is the founder of the magazine Milk Shake. Professor Bode we’re happy to have you with us.

-Call me Anxious.

-Anxious, you have Parkinson, you’re a writer, what else do you do, do you have any hobby?

-Falling out of bed.

-Haha. Yes, I heard you’re an expert.

-I can fall off a chair too.

-A lot of our listeners wonder how you manage to write despite your disease.

-I hope they’re sitting down, because I have a shocking revelation. Nobody can write without Parkinson’s. Behind every writer is a Parkinson sprinkling words on the page when he’s not watching. Take Hemingway, his BS detector: Parkinson. When you can’t type, you have to write more.

-Write more?

Thierry Kauffman

-Yes, sharpen your thoughts until something worth typing comes out. Hemingway didn’t want to reveal the secret, so he spoke of a BS detector. That’s not how literature works. Not at all.

-Now I’m the one sitting down. Are you saying Parkinson’s was there since the beginning?

-When Moses climbed Mount Sinai, it was raining. You couldn’t see a thing. He reached the mountain top right after me. He said “What are you doing here?” I told him I was waiting for my revelation.  “Today?” he said. And i said, “I guess so. Don’t worry, there are plenty of commandments for both of us.” Then the thunder struck, God came out and spoke. Moses had his tablet ready. He came back and showed me. “What have you got?” I asked. “Commandments. All ten of them. Smoking hot. You?” “Says Commandment eleven.” “Eleven? He told me there would be only ten!” “Well, here it is. It says and I quote: ‘Thou shall have Parkinson.'” “WTF?” said Moses. “He gave you Parkinson?” “Why, is that bad?” “You don’t know?? Parkinson, the greatest gift on Earth, the holy Grail. Genesis, the lost verse :In the beginning was Parkinson’s. Whoever has it will be undefeatable, it’s the fountain of youth, immortality. And HE gave it to you? Oh excruciating pain, oh cruel fate, what would I not give to be you.” “We can share if this would make you feel better.” “No, go, this is yours, pass it down from generation to generation, and if people complain, tell them Moses told you so.” And that is how the secret was transmitted throughout history.

-When you say “I” you mean figuratively, right? You’re not saying you were there with Moses.

-Why, yes, I am.  I am immortal.  You see, Parkinson patients are the annointed ones. This is their shot at greatness. Look at it this way. When you have that disease, you cannot walk, you cannot speak nor sing, you can not think, you cannot type. What do you do? Easy. You do all the things Parkinson forbids. And if you speak, sing, dance, write, think, what are you? The greatest man on Earth. A philosopher, artist, you are, truly, the holy grail. Of course the price you pay for this is very high. But that, you already knew.

-So you would recommend everybody to get Parkinson’s? Isn’t that a little difficult?

-Absolutely. Right now the market is a little tight. Too much demand, not enough supply, but it might ease later. One thing though, beware of generics. Accept only genuine Parkinson’s, the one that freezes you solid in a few brisk minutes.

-And where can you get Parkinson’s?  Our viewers want to know!

-Go up Mount Sinai at dusk. Make sure you can run, in case things go wrong. Those lightning bolts (Coups de foudre, we call them in La France), can be a little rough on you.

-And then?

[Anxious freezes, then:]  -Hold on. Where did my pill go? Uh-uh, it rolled on the floor. [speaking to himself] Don’t panic, roll to the right, there, throw your left leg real hard. [we hear a big noise as Anxious’s foot hits the chair Alex was sitting on] Where did the pill go? I see it! I’m going to crawl.

-Are you alright Professor Bode? You just knocked my chair down. And me too.

-Anxious grabs Alex’s arm.

-Don’t move. I’m about to freeze. I need my pill, quick. You’re going to help me. Here, I’m holding on to your left arm. Now I’m going to pull on your left arm. Ready? Go. Lift your arm, toward your back. More, more. Again. Now turn slowly, pull on my right arm. Easy, we don’t want to fall, especially not me. One more step. There! I got it!

[There is a pause. Alex and Anxious, holding to each other, slowly rising, their arms joined in an arc, a covenant. They bow as they sit back in their chair, as if they needed to ask permission to reenter the world of the living, and give their soul time to fold its wings.]

-And we are back!

-Parkinson’s does that to people. They go places, then they come back. Write about it.

-I think I’m going to close the shop for the day. That will be my commandment to myself. The sun is shining, I think I’ll go home on foot. I can call you a cab if you want?

[Anxious shakes his head and smiles.]  -You’re right. It is a glorious day for walking. But I do think I’ll crawl.  Better for the writing!


[Thierry Kauffman is a writer and composer living in France.  A note from his FB page: “So the miracle, by my standards, happened yesterday. Quietly, unannounced, so surprising I missed it at first. It’s a piano blessing: for the first time I was able to play legato again, like a river flowing. It was slow, but it will grow. This is the key that opens all doors. I am grateful. So many years of work, and finally.”]

  1. Patricia writes:

    My new secret crush. Anxious Bode.

  2. monica wood writes:

    Mister, I don’t know you, but you totally rock. I loved this.

  3. Debora writes:

    Well where have you been Thierry, it’s been too long!

    I myself have been crawling around at all hours of the night with my white dog–17 years old now! She (and I) on some pretty shaky ground, but we’re still workin’ it and holding our own. Anyway, I think of you since you said you are up and marauding around too. Like your post.! The sudden presence of a great day, a great moment…the best of times, isn’t it.

    So two of my ski buddies are in your neck of the woods skiing the glacier at Val Senales, the Italian side of the alps. This prompted me to go out and spend a chunk on new skis and high performance boots. It’s hard enough to keep up with Greg and Stein without this new training. I plan to take them by surprise when I show in new equipment. Of course this general lack of sleep thing might have an effect. I’ll do my best. Oh, gotta go, my girl needs some help getting outside, joints and legs not working so well this morning!

    Good to see you again!

    • thierry kauffmann writes:

      Hi Deborah,

      Where have I been? Up (and sometimes down) to no good. I’m delighted that you wrote. I take it you liked the post, but I don’t need to hear it. I laugh at the fact that we’ve become old friends who can dispense with formalities 🙂
      So you bought new skis. You’re the G.I. Jane of the slopes. As for lack of sleep, it’s better than being dead. You can always improve on the former, not so much for the latter.

      As J.S. would say, I’m Bach!

      • Debora writes:

        Funny! Yes! It’s right to say I LOVE your post, Love it , love love it! And GI Jane! I might have to make a t-shirt out of that…funny you thought of that ’cause I have a black-eye–magenta right now–my first ski injury of the season, it matches my new boots and skis! Anyway, there was eight inches of powder in the pass. Tricky for skate skiing…got hung up in it and after a lot of dramatic floundering, I took a ski pole handle in the eye. GI Jane rides again!

  4. thierry kauffmann writes:

    Let’s surprise Bill!

  5. Tommy writes:

    Thierry, the humor and courage with which you face your illness is startling. Parkinson’s is an enigmatic malady, and you are generous to recommend it to others -some days it seems as though you are improving and on others, that you are in decline. Through it all the glimpses you offer into your personal world are illuminating, captivating, and always inspirational. But I’m still not sure why that tank in Cameroon would have shot if they’d trained their sites on your Audi before it sped around the curve!

    • thierry kauffmann writes:


      Thank you for your heartwarming comments. Writing and humor mix well against Parkinson’s. When I first conceived the idea that there was something good in Parkinson, that it had made me a writer, or showed me the way, I didn’t know about Moses. That part of the story I “discovered” while writing. As for the second part, it took me by surprise.
      I’m impressed that you remember the tank incident! When I throw a Parkinson going away party, I’ll make sure to invite you. Again, thank you!

      • Tommy writes:

        I think you should have your party right here at Bill and Dave’s – I hear Bill is a tremendous baker!! 🙂