Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Muppet moral

As the lights in a theater at the Arclight went down last night, my buddy told me that I would not possibly find anything in the movie we were about to see remotely upsetting.

"I promise," he said, flashing the Scout's honor gesture.

Two weeks ago, he and I saw a movie about a World War I soldier named Joe who ends up in a hospital bed with no arms, no legs, no face –just a torso and a brain– and the only thing keeping Joe alive was a trach that looked suspiciously like mine.

Last weekend, on my own, I saw a horror movie in which the lead ghoul wears a set of gamy dentures that she uses projectiles and at other times removes them to gum her victims with slime –just like I could if I were possessed by Satan and wanted to drag people to hell.

It was assuring to hear my buddy certify "The Muppet Movie" as safe fare for a guy like me with a tracheotomy and a G-tube and four months of tongue cancer under his belt. And because the movie originally was released in 1979, I knew that none of the Muppets were going to die of AIDS, either.

In minutes, we were watching Kermit the Frog squatting on a log in a swamp, plucking a banjo and warbling "The Rainbow Connection" and I was under the Muppets' spell. All of my real-life woes had been tucked away and forgotten.

Then the song ends, and Dom Deluise, playing a talent agent named Bernie, floats by. As Bernie tempts Kermit with a star-making role in Hollywood, a fly buzzes by and Kermit snaps at it with his tongue, but misses.

"First thing to go on a frog, his tongue," Kermit sighs.

I didn't bolt from the theater. I didn't even kick my buddy in the shins, though I was tempted.

I just reminded myself that recovery for my tongue may be just downstream in this cancer swamp I'm in; I just can't see it yet because it's hidden in the kudzu.

Like Kermit says: "Life's like a movie, you write your own ending."

In the ending to my movie, no fly that buzzes near me has a chance of surviving.

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