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The Occasional Pain〜TOUGH TOFU

By Deems Tsutakawa For The North American Post

There are a lot of old sayings that still hold water these days. A good example would be “death and taxes are inevitable” although I would add the word “inflation” to that colloquialism. Inflation in our capitalistic society is indeed inevitable. Another one that I like goes, “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to quit, that is strength.”

Back when we were teenagers, a good friend of mine named Leonard Berman told me that he tried playing his guitar with his teeth. It was an offbeat technique that guitar legend Jimi Hendrix used from time to time. Apparently, there is some pain associated with this somewhat awkward approach to rock guitar. Leonard also told me that most people don’t appreciate this type of pain. It didn’t take me long to learn to indulge myself in the pain and pleasure of playing piano as hard as the human body will allow. During my early years of playing really down funk and blues on a Fender Rhodes electric piano, my fingers would bleed around the tips where I would strike the instrument. Within a few months, the calluses got thicker and the bleeding stopped. From that point on, it usually only felt good to play hard with commitment and distinct melodic definition.

Although most athletes and blue collar laborers would know the physical discomfort associated with their endeavors, many ordinary people and white collar workers may not experience a lot of actual pain. This is assuming that their health is good, of course. Emotional pain and suffering are another issue altogether.

There are times that I adhere to another old saying that goes, “A little pain is good for us from time to time as it reminds us that we are in fact living.” I believe that we need some sadness to actually appreciate true joy and happiness.