Last night as I was playing my ukulele, I became aware that certain finger joints aren't able to bend to make certain chords. Let me be perfectly clear: this isn't a matter of 'practice makes perfect,' in spite of what several non-doctor 'experts' repeatedly suggested. I would never wish arthritis on anyone, but it's tempting when an 'expert' tells me -- someone who has had arthritis since I was thirty -- that I simply need more practice to get my fingers to bend.
Oh? Has that been my problem all these years? If I'd just do things that forced my lazy fingers to bend, all would be fine!
While rubbing my large arthritis bumps and examining the joints that refuse to bend under any amount of pressure, I beg to differ with that conclusion. I need to mention (again) that I've had arthritis since I was thirty years old, so this isn't merely a case of an age-induced condition. And I've always continued to 'work my fingers' as much as possible for tasks requiring delicate and/or firm manipulation. (Do I need to mention that I've never 'given up' on my joints in spite of what was long ago deemed a genetic condition? I can be remarkably stubborn, as I imagine readers of this blog are already aware.)
Why do I picture some young man with long, supple fingers that can bend easily in any direction, offering his 'expert' knowledge? (Sorry, my male friends -- so many of whom, like Frank, are remarkably sympathetic and understanding! But many men are not like that -- while most women are by nature that way...)
I was frustrated last night. I just want to play the ukulele perfectly! I want to make every chord and fingerpick and do it all. It was shocking to discover I was not cleanly making some of the most basic chords! There's nothing like fingerpicking to make that apparent.
I won't give up. But I also don't expect miracles. I'm aware that even acupuncture is unlikely to make a joint that is locked in a given direction/position to suddenly work normally. I suppose there's an outside chance that surgery could help, by attempting to remove the growths that interfere with movement, or change the unnatural shape of the finger and the given joint. One has to wonder what such elective surgery would involve and cost...
Realistically, these are the hands and fingers I have. I'm not complaining, as many people have worse. I just wany to be able to continue my graphic arts work, type this blog and do other writing and -- of course! -- play the ukulele.
Well, my expert online 'friends' have assured me I'll absolutely be able to do any chord shape with practice. Actually, I have that wrong. With ENOUGH practice.
Did you know that practicing hard enough will magically improve my arthritis? (So says these experts...)
Well, I think I've ranted enough for one morning. These (jerks? idiots? creeps?) will never see his anyway. They've already told one more man how it should work. Hell, maybe he's off playing like Jake Shimabukuro!
I don't think I need to say that people with broken fingers -- or missing fingers (like my friend Donn, my late Grandpa Ed and many others) -- won't magically improve with practice, either.
Whoops! I fell asleep again and nearly dropped my iPad. Time for a bit more sleep, I suppose. Or I could practice my uke -- and see if it really is all about effort and repetition. I'm always the positive and optimistic type, so who knows?
Plus, I really want to play! Have I made that clear? I love playing!
Fell asleep again. More soon, my friends!