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July, 2005

"Play the Hand You're Dealt"

by Webmaster

I was reading an article in the July 10, 2005, Parade Magazine. It's "He Makes Talent Shine" by Nancy Henderson Wurst, about Eddie Tuduri, a professional drummer "who toured with the likes of The Beach Boys and Rick Nelson." He was body-surfing and broke his neck.

"When I realized the severity of my injury, all I could think was, 'I may never play again.' I couldn't imagine a life without rhythm." — Eddie Tuduri

After surgery, the paralysis remained but he "asked friends to bring him simple percussion instruments. One day, he absentmindedly began tapping a drumstick on the side of his bed. Before long, a fellow patient joined in, clapping in time. Another rapped a stick on a cowbell with the help of a friendly aide. The litany of sounds drew a roomful of curious doctors, nurses and therapists who urged the group to keep playing."

"It was the beginning of a new life for me. The patients in my ward encouraged me to creat what has bedome my life's work." — Eddie Tuduri

Tuduri's "life's work" has become "The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP), a nonprofit rehabiilitative program for kids and adults whith developmental disabilities." He also started "Gifted Arteists Records (GAR), a nonprofit label for musician with disabilities."

"I actually thank God for my broken neck every day, because it's really put me in a much better place." — Eddie Tuduri

I'm a strong believer in volunteering. I think it's important to give back to our communities, in some way. I've written about that in this column before (October, 2004, "Playing Benefits").

But, I have a hard time believing that a broken neck, resulting in permanent disability and the end of a life-long career is something to be thankful for.

On the other hand, I have to admire the man's ability to make the most of the life he has—he's playing the hand he was dealt.

One of my band mates was a studio musician until he broke his hand in what I'll call an accident. He still plays guitar and performs, but that part of his life is over. He doesn't whine and bemoan his fate. He's doing the best he can and he's playing the hand he was dealt. He's the one who applied that expression to the attitude.

Marshall Wilborn once told me how he learned to play slap bass. He was in New York City and learned to play slap bass from an upright bass player who had been in an accident and lost his left hand and part of his left forearm. All he had was a stump with a knot on it. He used the knot to play notes on the bass and made up for the lack of dexterity by developing a fantastic right-hand slap-bass technique.

We all have limitations to deal with in our lives. But they shouldn't keep us from playing music and being the best we can be. We may not be the best in the world—damn few people are—but we can continue to get better and improve.

And we can be thankful for the talent that we have. Comments? E-mail me.

Thanks for visiting Acoustic By Lines.

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