@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
You Always Think You Have More Time
With revealing as little detail as possible, as it appears the family would like this information tight lipped, a family member very near to me has been finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease after years of troubling and worsening symptoms. He has been a strong paternal figure in my life. Quite brilliant and bold. Had a genius IQ and was wildly successful. I knew few people who were better read or took better care of themselves. And still, at the not so old age of 70, he is deteriorating into a shadow of his former self.
While he is still with us, I know too well what pretty much any age driven ailment brings for the future, having worked in a nursing home for four years. And it’s not good. And it’s something wicked to know that things will never get better. Worse still, is beginning to grieve someone who is still alive. Who you can still see in the flesh, but the person you once knew isn’t there anymore, not fully anyway. I’ve seen this many times before and the bleak reality is, it will be seen again, with him and with other people I know and love, eventually. Perhaps the cruelest part of the universe is how indifferent it is to keeping safe what makes us special. This thought came to my mind, and I’m not sure if I heard it somewhere else or is sprung upon me organically that you always think you have more time.
And then Norm MacDonald died. It seems almost bizarre to have been so moved by the passing of someone I, regretfully, never met. At risk of sounding selfish here, I always thought I would, inevitably, meet Norm MacDonald. An encounter I dreamed of. Norm is, as is he is to many, a comedic hero of mine. Truly unique and brilliantly hilarious. Perhaps the best compliment I ever received was when I opened for Jim Breuer who said, “Norm MacDonald would love you.” If I had the opportunity to make Norm MacDonald laugh, that would be worth a least a million laughs from strangers and at least a million dollars to me.
Norm was special in the sense that he was a true north to comedy. Jokes always came first and it didn’t much matter to him if the crowd wasn’t on board with where he was going. Dark and uncomfortable, he carved out his own genre. His jokes have zero fat on them. I’m unsure if he considered himself an Epicurean (the only tattoo I have is an Epicurean mantra) but I consider him the ultimate Epicurean and stoic— that the world is wholly absurd and not meant to take seriously. That life is to be devoured. And devouring life is what Norm did. And by not giving a fuck about what other people thought, pretty much every comic would have given a shit what Norm MacDonald thought about their comedy.
It’s extremely rare for me to cry over a “celebrity” loss. Not that I wouldn’t be upset by any loss, but if I didn’t know someone, it doesn’t usually hit me so much. Plus, I don’t hero worship many celebrities. Norm was a god in my eyes, he was a god. This loss feels closer than maybe it should. These are strange days we live in, indeed. Comedy and freedom of speech is perpetually under attack. I feel the comedy world still needs him. Fuck it, I need him. He wasn’t even old yet.
In a haunting whisper I hear, “you always think you have more time.” I wish there were truer words spoken. Somehow, today, it feels harder to laugh at the absurd. With a heart full of daggers, how can we treat the present with the most time we’ll ever have, knowing someday, we’ll have everything to miss.