The Ultimate Partner
I'm looking for another dancer. However, I want to be clear about my request. I am not looking for either of these types of dancers.
In truth, I am not into ballet, nor am I looking for a ballet dancer. Actually, I am not into any form of dancing at all. I fear that sometime I will have to dance with someone, and I will look the fool.
What I am looking for is a La Danse Macabre or one who has danced with death. Unless you have done the dance or have read my website, you might not even have noticed that there are many dancers out there who have done the dance. This is a long list of dancers, about which I have written essays: Randy Pausch, John Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, Miguel Cervantes, Kurt Vonnegut, Steve Jobs, Alan Seeger, John Donne, Oliver Sacks, David Hume, Saul Alinsky, Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, Alexander the Great, Professor Keating, William Forrester, Ebenezer Scrooge, Billy Pilgrim, and Don Quixote.
While that is one common thread that all these people have, the other one is that they are not alive today. I truly regret that I can't talk with any of them. The closest that I have come was to a talk was with Cleah Schlueter, who worked with Randy Pausch at Carnegie Mellon University. Nonetheless, I want to talk one-on-one with another dancer. All that I have been able to do is to read about and quote them. Strangely, they are all males.
Therefore, I need to find some other dancers who have danced successfully as I have. I feel isolated from others that have had this transformative experience. My dancing was the most transformative event in my entire life. I want to talk with someone who shares that feeling and what a feeling it is.
Therefore, this is a request. If you know of someone, either let them know of my desire to talk with that person and/or let me know so that I can contact that person. They must feel lonely also, even though we both benefitted from our dances.
One of the things that troubles me about doing the dance is related to the previous paragraphs. Many of those other dancers out there might not realize that they have done the dance. I didn't initially. I did the dance twice and went back to life functioning as a dancer but not realizing it. Granted, that seems like a non sequitur statement. How can I have done the dance and not realized it?
In the spring of 2008, I fell off a ladder, which resulted in hitting my head on a concrete retaining wall. That fall resulted in me being in two different hospitals for nearly two months. However, I don't recall the fall or going to either hospital. Only in the last 10-days in the second hospital do I remember anything. While I recovered from the traumatic brain injury, it took me several months to get back my physical strength due to being in a hospital bed most of the time. I went from being active and driven to precisely the opposite. As I began getting back into shape, I couldn't walk further than down my short driveway to the sidewalk. That became the new normal for me. However, within a couple of months, I was either riding my bike or kayaking around the lake behind my house.
I went from out of shape to back to shape and beyond. I went past getting back to normal physically and didn't realize it. What is true about physical recovery is true of being driven. On the fifth anniversary, I planned a family party, which I called my Humpty Dumpty Party. I could have died or even worse become a vegetable, and I was celebrating my fall. I was wound up not just having parties, but my entire life was different. However, I missed it; I didn't notice the difference.
A couple years after my Humpty Dumpty Party, I had dinner with Mike Schmitt about my wanting to find another job. It should be noted that I was looking for another job while I was in my early 70s. Mike wanted to talk with me. Still I wasn't aware of the change in me. We sat down in a restaurant in Chicago, and he began with a simple question, "Tell me about you." I did...without stopping, I told him about myself throughout the entire dinner. Mike sat there politely. We were ordering dessert, when he asked another question, "Have you ever seen Randy Pausch's Last Lecture?" I said that I hadn't and continued to talk about my life. As we left the restaurant, Mike said that he would email me a link to the Last Lecture.
The next morning, I watched the Last Lecture. Talk about seeing the light! Randy Pausch was dancing with death and was as wound as I am. However, he got it, and I hadn't...until that moment. I have lived a half dozen years transformed and hadn't really notice a change in me. Nonetheless, I get it now.
Now, if I missed my transformation, my guess it that others have also. I am asking you for another favor. Send the link to this article to anyone, who you know, that may have done the dance and didn't realize it. Hey, I am honest; I totally missed it. They might have also. Nevertheless, it profoundly changed me. Ask Ayanna.
Visit the Darkest Before Dawn page to read more about this topic.
Visit the The Last Lecture page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.
Visit the "Don Quixote" page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Best and Worst of Times page to read more about this topic.