By WR Jones
I was standing next to this stream in Taos Canyon, painting in peaceful solitude when a man standing less than 2 feet directly behind me yelled “HEY!”. “JESUS CHRIST”, I screamed as my painting arm shot up in panic throwing my best Kolinsky sable brush into the water. I spun around to find this strange looking man of an age somewhere in the 40’s. He says, “Scared ya, huh. Ment to.”
I think I may have pooped myself but luckily avoided social stigma by having my astronaut diapers on. They are really handy for these long trips. When I recovered enough to speak I asked if he were out for a hike. He replied the VA hospital had let him out for the day. My immediate thought was psycho ward. He said, at the hospital, he was doing a painting of a wolf. The staff gave him a kit with the wolf picture, paint, and brushes all together. Wonderful, I say. He left and I continued painting, periodically (every 5 seconds) looking over my shoulder, and with a noticeable hand tremor.
That night my daughter called to ask how the painting was going. I told her it was hard to paint when your hand is shaking. She asked if I had any other symptoms. Well, I say, I do have a slight sore throat. Then, “No wait, that is probably from scratching my throat with a stick to make my voice deeper. “How do I sound?” She is on the computer looking up hand tremor. “Is it an intentional tremor?”, she asks. “Hell no. Why would anyone shake on purpose?” “No, No; does it shake when you try to do something?” “Yep.” “Do you want to know the common causes or the rare diseases?” As a hypochondriac I thought it best to stick with the common. “Common”, I say. Well, she says, alcoholism is the chief cause.
I kneeled down so she couldn’t hear the splashing as I emptied the remaining beer from the bottle. OK, beer plus that one shot of vodka. Two shots of vodka; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I need a drink, my nerves are shot.