Friday, February 22, 2013

Everything's Fine

There is a line, and a few variations on the line, that crops up throughout comedian Tig Notaro's "Tig Notaro: Live" recording:

"Guys, relax. every thing's fine. I have cancer."

She says this several times, after people in the audience have apparently expressed some form of shock, sadness, or pity for her topic of the evening … her recent cancer diagnosis. Notaro's tone of voice is, itself, compassionate, sympathetic, almost pitying towards her audience. She really wants them not to feel bad for her. Empathize, maybe, but not feel sad about it.

Disability is different from illness in fundamental ways, but I think this line is a good way to sum up the positive, optimistic side of disability. If only to get past the furrowed brow and awkward questions, we want to tell the non-disabled people we meet:
"Guys, relax. Everything's fine."
Because in a sense, everything is fine. Usually. Most days. More days than not. For all intents and purposes, for me, as a person. Everything's fine. Things don't always go fine, and there are lots of things in the world that aren't fine. But I'm fine.

I do highly recommend everyone buy and listen to the whole performance:

Tig Notaro - "Tig Notaro: Live"

As disabled comedians must know, it's hard to make disability or illness funny and relatable. It's hard even for people who have lived all their lives or for a long time with their disabilities. Tig Notaro did it perfectly the first time, and based on the details of her story, it was a completely new experience for her.