One thing that very few people know about me is that I am Abraham Lincoln's first cousin, four times removed. That means that my great-great-great grandmother (give or take) was his aunt (or uncle...hard to tell sometimes in those old tin-types). This, in and of itself, means nothing. Everyone is related to someone famous somewhere back in time. Everyone will be related to someone famous somewhere forward in time.
However, that's not the point. This is the point. It seems that a mutated gene which causes a form of ataxia has been found and traced down through the descendents of Honest Abe's family (or a branch thereof). All the way through to the present.
What's ataxia, you ask? Good question. Gold star for you.
When one considers ataxia, one should first picture in the mind a drunken pirate. A drunken pirate on land. A drunken pirate on land for the first time in a very long time. With a large parrot on one shoulder that adds weight more to one side of the pirate's body than the other. This is an extreme picture. But most drunken pirates who own parrots tend to be extreme.
So, there is a list to this pirate's gait.
Now, picture this gait on someone who has never sailed. Picture it on a landlubber. A sober landlubber. A teatotaling, Bible thumping, dry docked landlubber. Again, an extreme picture. But again, these people tend to be very extreme. Even without the parrot. Or because of. Not sure.
Ataxia is this (from the MD Virtual University):
"Ataxia describes a lack of coordination while performing voluntary movements. It may appear as clumsiness, inaccuracy, or instability. Movements are not smooth and may appear disjointed or jerky.
Ataxia may affect any part of the body. When it affects the arms and hands, it may cause tremor due to over-correction of inaccurate movements, past-pointing when an attempted reach overshoots the target, and poor performance of regular, repeated movements, such as hand clapping. When ataxia affects mechanisms of walking, there will be instability with a tendency to fall. As a result, the child usually adopts a wide-based gait, with the feet spread further apart than the hips. This is done in an attempt to compensate for the instability. The gait may appear "drunken." Balance may also be affected; the child may fall spontaneously or be unable to compensate for variations in the ground or a mild push from the side. When ataxia affects speech, it leads to "scanning" speech. In this form of speech, the voice is relatively monotone, often with a breathy sound accompanied by unusual accelerations or pauses between syllables. When ataxia affects the eyes, rapid shifts of gaze to look at a particular object often miss. On careful examination, the eyes may be observed to overshoot or undershoot their mark, with "catch-up" movements."
Now to my point. If any of the class is still awake, that is. Personally, I dozed a bit right around "Ataxia describes..."
My point is that for all of these years when I've appeared intoxicated, lubricated, under the weather, out of my gourd pissing mad, ripped to the gills, three sheets to the wind, stupefied, mesmerized, hypmotized, and just generally shitass drunk...I really wasn't. It was the ataxia talking.
Now, I know a few of you, or some or you, or maybe most or all of you are saying to yourselves right now, right this minute in fact, "SSM has got his head up his anus". But think. When you and I were out on the town (well, at Livingstone's) and you saw me drinking what appeared to be a brown beer, how did you know it was beer? That and tea look exactly the same. When you thought you heard me asking for a taxi, could I actually having been announcing "I feel ataxic"?
So, there you have it. All these years I've been pulling the wool over your eyes. I was always ashamed of my ataxia, so I pretended to be the town drunk. I'm a good actor, after all.
Just felt I should tell the truth and be done with it.
And I think that deserves a round.
Of applause, dammit!