Thursday, March 5, 2009

Zinging Zeros 3/05/09

If you love your life, you have to fight.

Michael Zaslow
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Good day, dear friend
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"Aye, there's the rub." Do I love my life enough to fight for it?

I knew Michael Zaslow. I worked with him a few times. He played a villainous character on Guiding Light, but he was, in fact a very nice man, a great gentleman and a solid, self assured actor. We were both members of the Circle Rep Lab in New York. Michael finally succumbed to Lou Gehrig's disease but he kept fighting all the way down.

The question on the table is: Do I love my life enough to fight for it? My fight is continuous and I'm surrounded by enemies. To fight is to receive blows, but not to fight is also to receive blows. So what's the point? My only hope is that if I get in enough blows I will weaken the enemy. False hope? Maybe.

But to fight for it? I have debts that are approximately 175% of my yearly income and growing. I can't handle them. I don't answer my phone because the messages are all from people who want their money. Some of the calls are threatening me. And now I have a letter from a savage, notorious Georgia law firm that specializes in taking debtors to court.

Do I love my life enough? I had to walk to the market today to buy a few things. Walking is very painful because of my bad hip. I had to stop and rest twice and there are no benches in this town. It's put down the bags, stand and hold on to a street sign. I have an uncontrollable cough that sometimes has me gasping for breath. I have no teeth left and my eyesight is getting dimmer every year. I have no health insurance.

Do I love my vagabond life? I don't know why I live here. I have no friends or family here. In the 7 1/2 years I've been here no one from this town has ever come to visit me or invited me to their home. There's no work for me here. I checked out the senior center and found no one to talk to. There is no cultural life available to me. I have no joy except in writing.

But do I love it? Ten years ago I was a vital, working actor, in demand on some levels and respected. Over the decade I've watched my life deteriorate into illness, debt and loneliness. And what if I had the money I need? After the debts were paid it would pour into a bottomless bucket of doctors' and hospital bills, drugs and other therapies. And then what? A life of lonely old age. What's to love?

And do I? I'm frightened, poor, sick, very depressed and unable to cope with things any more.

Do I love my life enough to fight?
------------------------------------------------
DB

19 comments:

Big Mark 243 said...

Well damn, DB. This is such a shocking entry, that I had to let my heart beat a few times before I left a comment.

Since you are lucid and have control of your thoughts, I am sure that you understand your situation. You won't need me to remind you about anything.

As far as advice ... what kind of advice can I give? For someone who has appeared fairly stable and in good condition, what can I tell you? That is right, NOTHING.

So I will say that this B&C story is better than the trek thru the wilderness. Don't know how much of 'you' is in there, but it reads much better, at least to me.

The weather is finally going to warm around here at the end of the week. May get some rain, but so far that won't happen until late. It is always relative, the warming of the weather. In the spring, I am good with days in the high 40's and low 50's... the summer, once it reaches into the 70's, I am good.

I mention the temps because Michigan is notorious for 'missing' either spring or summer ... sometimes both. Now really mild and temperate spring days, and no real scorching summers.

That is what I miss about Carolina, the temps! Year round, could not complain. Of course, were I in San Diego ...

Texas get hot AND it get cold! They neglect to tell you that in the travel brochures! The heat, I expected, the cold, not so much!

Okay, one little piece of advice, since you are referencing 'zeros' with this entry, zero in on something that brings you joy ... whether it is a performance or stage you have been on, or a relationship, and think about THAT, don't grow it, just stay in that memory and smile or laugh and build from those feelings.

Spring is here!! And Michigan State has the look of a Final 4 team!!

Do your best, and you will have a good day!

Gerry said...

I read this entry with great compassion for you in the place you are at the moment, but that is just it, it is the moment. My advice is to let the system do what it will to you, but do not give up life because your struggle to write, register what reality you are experiencing has meaning and value now when you are alone and up against it as when you were in another place that did not look so bleak. Now is a time when those to whom you owe money are apt to turn into wild beasts, but these are the signs of the times, there are so many I know who have come to this pass. My last companion was getting calls all day long, for credit card debt and was going to have to go to court. I rushed down to tell those in charge his court date had to be delayed, as he was becoming very ill. We did not know what was wrong with him then but I said I wondered if he would live to his next court date where he was warned to appear or else play the total court costs.
What you have to stand on is your right to live no matter what debts you may have incurred, medical or whatever. What made my companion's plight worse as his debts were incurred from gambling! My sister has had a terrible gambling addiction and now has no money even to see a specialist while on medicare and she is afraid she is going paralyzed!
Things happen.
I look forward to see what you are going to write, so you still have gifts to give, just in another form. I give my writing to the world now, my film, because nobody is going to pay me for it, but my needs are taken care of first with disability and then with social security and residency in a HUD project. I feel well off compared to many. I am better off than my sister right now, and my other sister lost half of her savings in 401Ks and is very depressed. Keep writing as you struggle to find solutions that will allow you to live and find hope again.

Arlene (AJ) said...

DB, the other two commenters also spoke my feelings on your post today. Never give up dear, take it one day at a time, you'll get thru the good, bad, whatever life offers. Let your writing be your avenue of hope, I know your words normally bring us all hope that we'll get thru tomorrow, so don't you give up.

Beth said...

"Do I love my life enough to fight?"

I believe you do.

'Nuff said.

Love, Beth

Bohemian Cowboy said...

DB, First I wanted to let you know how important your comments are to me--intelligent, literate, and someone who understands the plight of the artist in this field. THEY MEAN SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO ME. However, this is not 'about me', this is about you. A year ago, I felt much the same as you are expressing in your entry. My only answer was to 'create'. That's all I knew how to do, and it saved me. Writing has saved me so many times, and well, you write so well. You have a distinct voice, and one of a unique experience. I cannot presume to know the pain your are facing, and can't make any judgement about what you should do, or finite answers. What I can say is that debt wise, so many of us are in the same state of affairs, (don't get me started as to why) but now its the 'haves' who are in dire straits, and not the 'have nots'. Its very interesting to watch and observe. As for those nasty collectors, even though you may have had your phone number for some time, I would suggest a cell phone with a new number. Its a start, they can't really 'do' anything to you... they threaten people with court and such, but mostly, those are scare tactics. Don't let the bastards psychologically get to you, DB... fight, my friend, the world needs your wisdom...

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Sorry you are down my friend. Remember that the collectors cannot get blood from a turnip, so as long as you keep up on your rent and have a home, then you can soar through our cyber world and bring joy to your readers. I think it would be worth while to investigate publishing your wonderful writings, either through an electronic format (pay a small amount for each installment, but it could be significant for you), or through a self publisher. After you have done some research, lets correspond about it and work something out :o)

René said...

You left me in shock DB. You write so well as if you were an English instructor in a college. I hope you keep on writing the usual advise. Remember what Dylan Thomas said, "Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light".

Coy said...

Just to remind you ...

"I am a retired actor and broadcaster. I am grateful to have spent my life in the arts. Now I write and paint. I read history, philosophy, psychology and religion. My desire is to share what I have with the world while trying to make sense of a difficult life and enjoying the journey, no rituals, no rules, no summations."

*** Coy ***

Janice said...

What the hell...All life is important. Well there may be an exception with the rabbits that are eating all my pine trees.
I'd be lost without you. Drink more water...it's what they always told me. It's the weekend, where is that quiz? My compassion is limited, sorry.

Silver said...

..face it with courage.

smiles,

Silver
from Reflections

Selchie said...

Hi DB, I'm really sorry to hear about your situation. my hubby has been out of work for 7 months and our debtors are circling. I do answer the phone and i explain how things are and as Bucko says you can't get blood from a turnip (we say stone here in blighty!) and I also agree with Bohemian I continue to create, to move forward and try to stay in the present. At the moment you are ok. I think with so many people losing jobs the institutions are going to have to get a bit of a reality check.
Talking of which reminds me of a girl I used to know. She was out drinking one night with a friend in Cambridge and as the crossed the park, she suddenly ran at a lamp post and started kicking it. He said what are you doing? She replied, this lamp post is called the reality check and I hate reality. Made me smile.
I wish really good things for you, you are in my thoughts.)

Indigo said...

Here is a good example...You like me and my friendship right? What if I had not fought and just given up when I was beaten or broken? What if I did fight my rapist hands around my neck as I struggled to breathe and could swear my last breath was given in the end? What if I kept drowing myself in my pain to the point of finally ending this life?

The answer to all of it is...I should of died a hundred times over, yet I fought. The surprising thing is I thought my life wasn't worth much either. Yet when given the choice in the middle of those last moments...I fought fiercely. I'll continue to fight, because no matter what ails me or what life gives me - it's another day to find a measure of beauty, a smile even new words to expunge on the page before me.

Don't take so little stock in a life that was lived well, your NOT done fighting. As for the bills, I've been there. They can't take blood from a stone. (Hugs)Indigo

Rose said...

I look forward to reading your journals my dear friend.

Hugs, Rose

Linda S. Socha said...

Hey D.B.
I do not know you and you do not know me but I love your profile photo...and frivolous new friend that I am....that counts with me.

Stay the course friend.
I wanted to give up 12 years ago...then again about 8 years ago. I did not. Did it suck? Yes at times....ongoing? Yes at times.
Did I rant and rave and act like a bit of a fool? You bet. I can over react and come unglued on command if need be...I understand not necessarily a great claim to fame...but it is earned and it is one of mine if needed.

I can make no objection to these caring thoughtful comments comments. I salute Gerry,AJ, Bohemian Cowboy.Bucko and Selchie...Silver and Indigo know what they speak about..
Stay the course.....really....

It is impossible to see the other ship around the bend not yet visible. No way to tell if it is pirate invasion or a total rescue effort or provisions for a bit, or bearer of your life's current soulmate or a purpose in life written by the Dali Lama.
Consider a plan, work the plan and put you first in the equation. Without fail. Give the negative no quarter...Just work it.

Debts are just numbers my friends. Any person worth their salt that lives in America has them , has had them or is in the process of getting them.

Ask for help. Seek the system. Claim elder abuse. ( I know another one of those over reactions) Do whatever you have to do to get past this crook in the bend. You are worth it. Even I , who knows you little, knows that

I do look forward to getting to know you. Try not to put me in the too weird category. Just call me overly verbal or giving advice where none is asked...
Linda

Maire said...

I have to thank you for posting such an honest, and yes, intensely provocative post. It saddens me, that a man, such as yourself, who offers his readers (and I wont use the word entertainment, it is not appropriate)such thought provoking reading, should have to have this kind of anxiety; I think, simply speaks to a lot of what has gone wrong in this country.
My mother left this country, and went back to her native country, because they in a nutshell, offer much more financial, medical and housing support to their seniors. Thats not to say, you could not incur debt there, but, there is a better support system, which isnt perfect, but, tries to at least provide the basics.
All the best to you...Maire

salemslot9 said...

I remember Mr. Zaslow
on 'OLTL'
he had a computer thingy
that would speak for him
try to hang in there, DB
xo

judith ellis said...

Poignant words here.

I speak life! Oh, my brother! Live!

Thank you for your years in the arts.

You have given joy!

This joy we return to you.

Peace and love too.

Trees said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trees said...

My apologies DB, my previous comment had so many spelling mistakes I had to come back and fix it by reposting, lol.

I am catching up on entries. I have read several of yours over again and this one several times. Michael Zaslow was a great actor and I remember his valiant fight, he fought right to the end. You sound very much like him DB, a fighter. Many times in our lives we hit really big ruts in the road, some you think you will never pull out of and can see no blue in the sky only clouds. I have been reading your journal only a short while, but the difference you have made in my life is very important to me. Should you continue to fight, I really cant answer that question. Although, I have sunk many times to the depths of despair with different things in my life and wondering if anything would ever get better, we all are different and feel things differently. You are a superbly wonderful writer. I enjoy your wisdom, your humour and your writing so very much. I hope you do fight, I dont think you fully realize the gifts you give to all those who read your entries. You impart wisdom, knowledge of many things. Although, ironically this might seem rather strange, in the face of what you are feeling, for me you impart hope, hope when sometimes I feel there is no hope in the face of my injuries and conditions, yet I choose to fight still. In large part, when I read your entries, I feel you give me hope, you yourself make me want to fight for my life. I am so very proud to know you through your entries. You make a difference in our lives of those who read you. You are truly loved by many and if there is anything at all I can do to be of help, please do not hesitate to ask. God bless you my friend, a friend who is very knew but somehow I feel is a kindred spirit.