Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Friday, January 28, 2005

Failure of the Day: Quality v Quantity

When I first got MS back in 1991, I’d never known anyone with MS and none of my friends knew anyone with MS. But that changed at some point; in the last several years, a handful of people I know have been diagnosed with it, and these days, almost everyone I disclose my disease to tells me that they know someone else with it as well.

As near as I can figure, this isn’t just a local phenomenon—all of a sudden MS is the new celebrity plague. Have you noticed? B- and C-listers are coming out of the woodworks to reveal their Dx. I remember the good ole days when it was just Annette Funicello and Richard Pryor. But last week, Larry King did a whole show about MS, and the panel was just absolutely stuffed with celebrities. (Or in some cases, “celebrities.” I mean, one of the Osmond brothers? And not even Donny? Come on!)

By and large, they are horrible as spokespeople. Even the ones who are legitimate artists and not complete Hollywood embarrassments are shitty at putting a non-smarmy public face on the disease. So it was with some trepidation that I read this article on Jonathan Katz, the latest celeb to come out as part of the Suck-Ass-Central-Nervous-System brotherhood.

I used to watch Dr. Katz and I appreciated his sensibility very much on that show, but you never know who’s going to go all “hope and flowers” when faced with something like this. But nope; not him. Thank god. He is still hilarious and utterly inappropriate and absolutely dead on. His bit about being super-competitive with other MS-ridden celebrities killed me: “I’m gonna make Teri Garr wish she had lupus!” (FYI, Paul: Katz is playing at a club in Somerville, MA that I think is pretty much right outside your front door tonight and tomorrow.)

Man, this is great! Finally some really quality celebrities have the same shitty disease as me!


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