All I Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun

28 Mar


Hat and Shades

I remember the day like it was yesterday.  Friday October 4th, the first Shabbes in October.  The day before (Thursday), my doctor had called me and told me that my spiral ct test indicated that the big thing in my chest was a cyst, nothing to worry about.  Still, there were these enlarged lymph nodes she wanted to test for, probably nothing.  So I took a blood test that Friday morning, got on with my day and looked forward to a joyous and peaceful Shabbat.  I went to the grocery store to get a challah, some wine, and some juice, and as I did I began to sing to myself God’s commandment to keep the Sabbath holy.  “V’shamru, v’nei Yisroel et ha Shabbat…”  I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time.  I felt….giddy, ecstatic, carefree. 

I was still humming the tune as I walked out into the parking lot.  Suddenly my phone rang.  It was my doctor.  My blood tests didn’t provide the answers she wanted.  Now she wanted me to see an oncologist.  My heart sank and all the giddiness drained out of my body.  I don’t really think I’ve been giddy since and certainly not carefree.  To be clear, I’ve had some really nice times…good times…meaningful times… times filled with love, but I’m not sure I’ve had fun.  In truth, I’m not sure I’ve had fun for a very long time.  You know, the kind of fun I had when my world was young.  When Emma’s laugh could keep Amy and me beaming and chuckling for hours.  The kind of fun that comes when all is right with your world.  Your parents are healthy.  Your pets are spry.  Your friends still have all their hair and teeth.  Perhaps you’ve got a bit of money in the bank, perhaps not.  But things around you are good, and so you can let go and have fun.  I can’t really remember the last time I felt that way, except for that moment in the grocery store when I thought my future was devoid of oncologists and surgeons, misdiagnoses and uncertainty, and stuff like that.  That time in the grocery store was really fun, and it hasn’t come back.

Truth is, I’ve never been a fun guy.  People have told me I am funny, but that’s not the same thing.  Indeed, my lack of fun led one former girlfriend to occasionally call me “grandma.”  She would do this when I turned down the music in my car to hear myself think, or when I sat in the corner at a party filled with her friends (but none of mine), or when I just couldn’t bring myself to have fun, which was often. Back in the 90s I auditioned to be in the music video for Sheryl Crow’s hit “All I Wanna Do is Have Some Fun.”  I didn’t get it.  They said I wasn’t fat enough (I never knew how to respond to that note), but I suspect I wasn’t fun enough either.  After all, I’m plenty fat.  I am known for many things—talking too much, arguing, a fair bit of pomposity, my love of cookies, etc.—but not for fun.  No one who knows me has ever told a story in which “Greenberg showed up, and the next thing we know we’re in Tijuana passed out drunk on the beach.”  I’m not that guy.  I’m not fun.

Why this meditation on my poor fun reflex?  Yesterday was my first day back at the gym since my surgery.  It felt great.  The ability to move my body, to breathe deeply, to come out of there with fewer of the aches and pains that have plagued me since I first met my rather dour, though well-meaning, surgeon really got me jazzed. I wasn’t giddy, but I was getting there.  And as I drove away I found myself thinking about the old Sheryl Crow song, “All I wanna do is have some fun.”  And I meant it.  I wanted, so badly, to feel giddy and carefree.  To have fun.  I’m not sure I know how to do that anymore.  At the very least, I know that fun, these days, will feel different than fun when I was younger.  But I want to give it a try.  I probably won’t make it until the “sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard,” but I can probably make it until 8:30 or so on Ventura in Sherman Oaks.

As always, stay tuned.


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