BY HEWHOCANNOTBENAMED My girlfriend works as a pediatric physical therapist, largely with kids who suffer from cerebral palsy, and whatever victories she achieves may appear small. She comes home, in fact, and says things like “Tommy* stood on his own for 30 seconds today. First time ever!”
I probe her with questions (questions, I said, get your head out of the gutter), find out Tommy is 16 years old and this was no small victory. In fact, for Tommy and his mother and the rest of his family (not to mention his physical therapist) it is a moment for high-fives and hugs. It is the culmination of months or even years of hard work—the kind of montage of physical effort we normally associate with Sly Stallone busting crunches, working the heavy bag and, yeah, running up the museum steps. Only in this case the montage would involve a physical therapist twisting Tommy up like a pretzel and helping him develop muscles he hasn’t the strength or expertise to build on his own. The montage would show Tommy moving by inches, not yards or miles.
Some people might get burnt out by this, by the emotion and the effort expended to realize these incremental gains. But Lisa Stachler, the pediatric physical therapist of whom I speak, keeps at it and has further decided to put on a show. A benefit for the kind of kids she works with all day. This means the girl who gets up at 5:30 in the morning has been staying up past midnight way too often. But she is excited and she is peach sweet so she has named the benefit after Dr. Seuss, calling it “Oh the places you’ll go!” It will be a night of music and comedy to benefit a college scholarship for a kid with cerebral palsy. In other words, it’s a good cause — and when was the last time you did a good deed?
Now that you know her story, you have but one choice: Pay up, suckers. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2, Upstairs at World Café Live. Tix are $30 at the door (for those who can’t make it, donations for the scholarship will be accepted by Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey). Music: Cabin Dogs, the Scott Silipigni Band, and Transistor Rodeo. Comedians: Chip Chantry, Doogie Homer, and Brian Cichocki. There will also be a Chinese auction. And one more thing: *The asterisk is next to Tommy’s name because federal privacy laws required me to make up a fake name for a real kid. I chose Tommy. See him, touch him, feel him (from a distance). And send him or someone just like him to college.