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A Shaky Matter

A Shaky Matter

People have begun to notice that my left hand is shaking.
Out of pride, or stubbornness, I’ve tried to hide it, but I now realize that this
was foolish. It all began about a year ago when my left thumb started twitching,
and it progressed from there. It’s upsetting to lose control of your body, but
the good news is that I don’t have Parkinson’s disease. My neurologist calls it
a “benign tremor.” It doesn’t hurt or even affect my ability to type; it’s just
frustrating, all the more so because my doctor can’t identify the cause.

There isn’t much to be done about it. I tried one medication
that helped, at first, and then stopped working (except for some unfortunate
side effects—like lethargy).

When I’m onstage interviewing someone or appearing on
television, the best I can do is use my right hand to hold the microphone and
try to rest my other hand as unobtrusively as possible. (Since my students at
USC watch me lecture every week, and I tend to use my hands when I talk, I told them about the situation at the
beginning of the semester. I hope they haven’t found it distracting.) But at
the recent TCM Classic Film Festival I know some people were wondering what was

I want everyone to know that I truly appreciate your concern.
The good news is: I’m fine and, God willing, will remain so. Now, on with the

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