My 7-Week Bypass
Years ago I heard about a Russian health cure called the ‘twenty-one day rest,’ where an individual submits to 21 days of supervised rest. I thought that was a very sensible and healthy way to clear the body and mind of the effects of excessive activity and prepare the way for a period of concentrated work.
After enjoying the effects of some 40 delightful (except for the food) days of rest in a hospital plus one week of the same at home following my quadruple bypass operation (and therefore being excused from all responsibilities like deadlines for writing music, giving lectures and workshops and traveling to far-away places for performances of my music), I am feeling stronger and more rested than I have ever been. I’m even considering giving workshops that I could call the Colgrass Relaxation and Responsibility-Free Bypass Experience where participants choose the number of days they want to escape from the world and bypass all the normal responsibilities and activities from which they’ve been wanting relief—like e-mail, voice mail, boring meetings—and commit to an enforced period of bed rest. Our cat, Sunny, could assist symbolically in this workshop exhibiting his unique technique for stretching out on his back with limbs shamelessly splayed in four different directions as an inspiration for pure relaxation.
My seven weeks in bed were the best rest I’ve had since my days sleeping through classes in high school. All my professional contacts were willing to excuse me from all responsibility due to ‘my condition’—trips were cancelled, workshops postponed till the fall, compositions put on hold—and I was excused from all communication with the outer world. I had bypassed all responsibility with complete impunity.
My bypass workshop would reflect the experience I had as a heart patient, including 24-hour bed rest with all meals delivered to your bedside, entertainment of your choice via tablet screen, and service as needed from friendly helpers (I had a wife and son who brought me good food). Imagine bypassing all the pressures to which you are normally beholden. You may have dreamed about doing something like this, but I doubt that you would be tough enough to do it on your own. I would see that you are picked up in an unmarked van, blindfolded and transported to a quiet place, where a list of nefarious doctors would write letters claiming your condition demanded this extended rest.
You would choose the length of your desired period of responsibility bypass—be it one day, 48 hours, one or more weeks, etc. The cost to you would be minimal—you could simply leave me a couple of credit cards and I’d work out something reasonable, depending on my expenses. My phony doctors might even wangle a way to get this service on OHIP (government subsidy to my US friends).