20 Best Things About Having Parkinson’s Disease-Term Life

I grew up with five siblings. Three older brothers and two sisters. Needless to say, we were like a veritable pre-school, with one of the kids being sick pretty much most of the time.

All the childhood diseases came and went through our house, along with colds, allergies, flus, and whatever other non-life-threatening virus was running unabridged down the hallways of our local schools, shared with each other freely and enthusiastically. I never got any of them.

I was always “strong one,” who never got sick. I’m talking ever.


So over the years, I began to believe in my own omnipotence against disease. Sickness was for weak people. For people who wanted to be sick. Since I didn’t want to be sick, I wouldn’t ever get sick. Got to love the arrogant logic of youth.

Then, five years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Oh hell no. How was this possible?? I never asked to be sick. It’s not like I wrote this on my Christmas list. (Dear Santa, I said “PONY,” not “Parkinson’s.” Fire that idiot elf and get somebody who speaks English.) But yet, here it was.

Parkinson’s is what they call a “designer disease,” (Well, at least I like that part. Yes, I’m shallow. Don’t judge), meaning everybody manifests it a little differently and progresses at different rates. One of the most common symptoms, however, is a visible one-sided tremor, usually of the arm or hand, which I had. In spades. Well, crap.

As years went by, however, and my innate love of situational comedy took over, I discovered that the tremor, while inconvenient and sometimes embarrassing, had its uses. Simply put, we Parkinson’s patients rock (bad pun intended) at certain tasks. What the hell, if you’ve got to have a disease, particularly one with no current cure, you may as well learn to get it working for you.

On that note, here’s my personal 20 Ways Tremors from Parkinson’s Disease Come in Handy.

1. Rocking your fussy grandchild to sleep. Give Mom and Dad a break. Five minutes with you, and the little wailer is out.

2. Freaking out a burglar. Who needs ADT? Put up a yard sign that says “The Owner of This House Has a Shotgun. And Parkinson’s. Good Luck.” Sleep well.

3. Fertilizing the yard. We can sprinkle for acres without tiring. Give us the fertilizer bag, and we’ll see you at lunch.

4. Blow-drying hair. Hairdressers say blow-dryers cause less damage if you move them quickly from side to side, as opposed to holding them steady. ‘Nuf said.

5. Cooking and baking. We can whisk eggs. All. Day. Long. And you need sprinkles on those cookies? Just hand over the jar and walk away. We got this.

6. Feed your fish. Need a little shake of food twice a day? One good tremor twitch and the Goldie twins have got exactly the right amount of dinner.

7. Sex. Since this is a family-friendly site, that’s all I’m going to say. The rest is up to your imagination. (C’mon, it doesn’t take that much thought.)

8. Pet the cat. We can do this for hours without tiring. Seriously, our arms are moving anyway. You may as well stick a cat under there.

9. Applying makeup. Makeup artists say that blending is more important than application. We just hold up the brush and let the tremor do the work. Perfection.

10. Tossing tinsel on the Christmas tree. Everybody loves those little silver strands, but nobody likes having to place them onto the tree. Hand those individual strands to your closest Parkinson’s relative. She’ll tremor-toss them all night long, until that tree glows in the dark. Merry Christmas.

11. Channel surfing. But I got to warn you. We’re fast. You may need to be an Evelyn Wood speed reading graduate to keep up, but give us a remote and we’ll show you how it’sdone.

12. Craft projects. See “Cooking and baking.” Only with glitter.

13. The perfect martini. If you like them shaken, not stirred, we’re your dream bartender. We can host any size party with ease. And if your blender goes blades up? A little extra enthusiasm (okay, a swig from the martini shaker), and we can offer up one fabulous margarita.

14. 52 Pick-Up. Got restless kids in the house? Give us a deck of cards. We can shoot those things in 10 different directions, 3 rooms away. It’ll take the little hummers hours to find them all. You’re welcome.

15. The shimmy dance. Admittedly more goofy than sexy, but we can spontaneously bust this move while doing almost anything else. Sometimes a little hard to turn off, but virtually guaranteed to get even nasty old Aunt Agnes laughing.

16. Camp fires. And I’m not talking about the EZ, light-in-a-pit things with presto logs. I’m talking “Survivor” fires, with no matches.  The ones where somebody has to rub two sticks together, really, really fast, until they combust. Hand over the sticks. We’ll call you when dinner’s ready.

17. Dusting or cleaning. We can wipe, dust, or clean any surface in your house faster than a team of Molly Maids. Show us a dirty spot, then stand back and watch the blur.

18. Sewing. You want a crooked line cut in that fabric? We’re human pinking shears. Not so good on the straight stretches, but for non-fraying hemlines? We’re golden.

19. Wedding toasts. Oh, please. Piece of cake (Bahahahaha. I crack myself up). Find us a butter knife and a champagne glass, and we can quiet a room faster than the guests finding out the best man ran off with the bride’s mother.

20. Make popcorn. None of that wimpy microwave crap either. The good stuff, that requires tedious moments of pan shaking on the stovetop. Oh, you want a bowl for a late-night movie? No problem. Just prop us up next to the stove and put those sleep tremors to work. Yeah, we’re that good.

So the next time you’re faced with a task from above, ask a shaking friend. We can help. And we won’t charge extra for the Parkinson’s.