By Deems Tsutakawa
For The North American Post
Just about everyone who has had a full time job has gone to work at some point with a cold, a headache, or a multitude of various maladies. For many it is considered a matter of pride or even a badge of honor to perform your duties even though you don’t feel well. It is not only what the boss expects of us but also what we expect of ourselves. The world is full of dedicated employees, and this is usually a good thing.
For many years the master of ceremonies for the Academy Awards was the famous comedian Billy Crystal. Whenever he closed out the show his final remark was always “remember, it is better to look good than it is to feel good”. Most people probably thought he was just being sarcastic. However in his business there is a lot of truth to his closing statement. Billy, of course, has made many major motion pictures as well as had a long career as a standup comic. There is actually a fine line between comedy and tragedy. Many comedians have come from rough childhoods and use their comedy as a way to heal their souls.
In Hollywood there are roles that come up that might be unflattering, unsatisfying, or even downright demeaning. Some of these parts are paying gigs though and as Billy Crystal says “remember to look good even if you feel bad.”
Generally speaking, musicians don’t have the luxury of sick leave, paid vacation, or a pension. It’s a good thing I love my work as I’ll never fully retire and luckily I have had a plethora of paid vacations. As for the sick leave I too have gone to work while under the weather too many times to count. The funny thing is that my job seems to have a healing effect on me. For some reason although I may be coughing, sneezing, and have a runny nose, when I start playing the 88’s, my symptoms virtually disappear. The healing power of music is becoming well documented. It may not cure everything but it is definitely a blessing and a joy for many.
Deems Tsutakawa is a local Sansei musician. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.