Living with Parkinson’s disease for more than 25 years, Michael J. Fox opens up in a new interview for the upcoming issue of AARP The Magazine to reveal he’s come to be able to laugh at his ailment.
“The truth is that on most days, there comes a point where I literally can’t stop laughing at my own symptoms,” he says in the magazine’s April/May issue. “Just the other morning I come into the kitchen. Oh good, coffee. I’m gonna get some! No, wait — I’m gonna get some for Tracy — who’s at the table with the paper. I pour a cup — a little trouble there. Then I put both hands around the cup. She’s watching. ‘Can I get that for you, dear?’ ‘Nah, I got it!’ Then I begin this trek across the kitchen. It starts off bad. Only gets worse. Hot java’s sloshing onto my hands, onto the floor …”
While most people would throw in the towel, Fox says that he persisted. “… And Tracy’s watching calmly, going, ‘Darling, why don’t you [expletive] let me get it?’ ‘I’m almost there, babe!’” he continued. “Of course, by the time I reach the table, the cup’s all but empty. ‘Here’s your coffee, dear — enjoy!’”
As the B.C.-born “Back to the Future” star sees it, living with Parkinson’s includes being able to laugh about it. “There’s the fact that it’s 7 in the morning and ‘this is how we begin our day — the right way!’” he said. “But the thing that makes it hilarious to me is when I think of someone else watching all this and thinking, Poor Michael can’t even get the coffee — it’s so sad!”
As Fox explains, the symptoms are only part of what it means to have Parkinson’s. “You deal with the condition, and you deal with people’s perception of the condition,” he tells the magazine. “It was easy for me to tune in to the way other people were looking into my eyes and seeing their own fear reflected back. I’d assured them that, ‘I’m doing great’ — because I was. After a while, the disconnect between the way I felt and the dread people were projecting just seemed, you know, funny.”
You can read more of Fox’s interview in the April/May issue of AARP The Magazine.