What Ails Me


 I’m tired from a short run to the slope, and not getting a good night sleep for the last few days – but something hung in my head which was mostly copy & paste from a wikiquote site, so I thought I would blog about it.

Some of you know this (some of you probably heard me say it a hunderd times, but …). One of my favorite movies is The Fisher King, with Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges.  The movie crazy and sweet, with some classic lines & speeches (including the one that contains coffee, spice racks, and a phallic reference to Florida).  One thing I really like is it all ties in many symbolic ways to the story, the title comes from.  At one point Percy, the Robin Williams character, tells the ancient fable of “The Fisher King”, saying:

“It begins with the king as a boy, having to spend the night alone in the forest to prove his courage so he can become king. Now while he is spending the night alone he’s visited by a sacred vision. Out of the fire appears the Holy Grail, symbol of God’s divine grace. And a voice said to the boy, “You shall be keeper of the grail so that it may heal the hearts of men.” But the boy was blinded by greater visions of a life filled with power and glory and beauty. And in this state of radical amazement he felt for a brief moment not like a boy, but invincible, like God, so he reached into the fire to take the grail, and the grail vanished, leaving him with his hand in the fire to be terribly wounded. Now as this boy grew older, his wound grew deeper. Until one day, life for him lost its reason. He had no faith in any man, not even himself. He couldn’t love or feel loved. He was sick with experience. He began to die. One day a fool wandered into the castle and found the king alone. And being a fool, he was simple minded, he didn’t see a king. He only saw a man alone and in pain. And he asked the king, “What ails you friend?” The king replied, “I’m thirsty. I need some water to cool my throat”. So the fool took a cup from beside his bed, filled it with water and handed it to the king. As the king began to drink, he realized his wound was healed. He looked in his hands and there was the holy grail, that which he sought all of his life. And he turned to the fool and said with amazement, “How can you find that which my brightest and bravest could not?” And the fool replied, “I don’t know. I only knew that you were thirsty.”

What makes the story so interesting to me is the way it seems to symbolize the rest of the movie, but always changing what it symbolizes.  Sometimes the King is symbolized Percy the homeless man, sometimes Jack the DJ, sometimes the Jack or Percy’s Girlfriends.  At times each of them are the fool too.  Heck, the holy grail is symbolized from everything from a goodnight kiss to a yachting trophy.

It’s been a couple days since I have seen my pup, who’s on lockdown since I left for the slope.  He goes under the knife tomorrow to remove his two little bits of dignity.  While I lamented last week on Facebook that it was going to be a rough week for him, it’s really becoming a rough week for me.  I’m learning that there are days that I need a bit of cheering up, a bit of companionship, and I’ve relied on him for that.  While I may go off looking for it at any number of places, I thought today how much the little guy can do it without much trying.  It is like he looks at me and says “What ails you friend?”  As if the water he brings to me when I am sick is his falling over on the bed begging for a belly scratch, or plopping his head on my lap.  And being a dog, he is simple minded, but by being a dog he finds ways to heal me.


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