18 October 2008

The Face of Pain

A decidedly Democratic friend of mine gave me his reaction to the last televised encounter between the two presidential candidates. "Did you get a load of John McCain's face during those debates?" he asked. "Those quirky expressions? That grin that looks like a grimace? You'd think the guy was in some kind of pain or something."

"He is in pain," I said. "Chronic pain. He probably hasn't had a pain-free minute since he got shot down over Vietnam. A few broken bones, some torture, some scarring that leads to nerve damage, and the man has a certain level of constant, chronic pain. He probably doesn't take the cocktail of drugs that John Kennedy took. But like Kennedy, some amount of pain and physical disability are part of his life."

My friend wasn't taken aback in the slightest. Maybe you aren't either.

But it strikes me that when you see a candidate on television, you also see a lot of what you bring to the picture. My friend saw quirky facial expressions that he found a little scary. I barely noticed them. Maybe because I see them in the mirror every now and then.

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