Person sitting on the end of a bed pouring oil on their knee from an oil can.

The Tin Man: Heart and Joints

I often think of the Tin Man in the movie, The Wizard of Oz. I know he wished for a heart, but before he could obtain that, he needed to get going, and that required an oil can. Everyone knows the story of the kind strangers, each seeking their own needs, come across him in the woods, they give him lubrication, and he comes to life. He reminds me of me in the morning.  Often I need some of that lubrication to get going. Unfortunately, no one makes oil for human joints.

Difference in the book and Firm:

There are many differences between the book titled ‘the Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and the movie ‘the Wizard of Oz.’ For instance, did you know the back story of the Tin Man? In the book, he was a real man who fell in love with a munchkin. The munchkin was employed by a woman who valued her service, and she decided that if she married this man, he would take her away. So she cast a spell and changed him into the Tin Man, then sent him into the world never to marry the servant. I know I woke up this morning after sleeping two hours, and my body hurt so badly I could barely move. My arms and hands seemed frozen. I thought Sheryl was going to have to get up to pull my arms out of the place they were stuck in. But, I slowly moved, first my hand, then my elbows. No oil required, just a force of will.

Did the Tin Man lack the will to move? Perhaps he was too embarrassed to ask for help? Maybe he gave up and decided that the pain of losing his beloved was too much, and he gave up only to rust in place; even with Sheryl and I being married for 43 years, I sometimes have this feeling of being stuck. AS and RA have sometimes made me unable to move freely, so you go ahead and enjoy yourself. It is a common refrain in the soundtrack of my brain.

Life disrupted

How many of our fellow people might say that AS interrupted or prevents their dating or married life from being satisfactory? Suppose there was a magic elixir that could be used to overcome our difficulties so we could have a wonderful life with sustained relationships? Could we then find the joy of a loving partner without the tough conversation about limitations and problems?

The Tin Man needs a heart. Supposedly, he needs his heart to return the love of the munchkin he loved before the curse. The Tin Man’s heart was taken away, and he knows that he will never be complete unless he finds a way to return that love. He had an incredible ability to work when his joints worked. But interestingly, the Tin Man is not seeking self-oiled joints or a way out of the work he is cursed to perform. No, he wants to feel the emotions he felt before the curse.

The gift within

In the movie, even though the Tin Man is not given a functioning heart, he is reminded that his actions are his heart, and all he needs to do is to believe in himself.  It is a lesson I needed when I woke so stiff I could not move this morning. I did not need to wake Sheryl at all.  All I needed was the will to overcome my painful, stiff joints. So I did what I always do, I moved a little until I could move a lot. First, my fingers, then hands, my arms, and then my legs. Each with terrible pain. Then the big movement came. I needed to sit up. Surprisingly, it was not as painful as my arms or fingers, but it was a struggle.

The big movement (the tipping point as it was) came when I could find my insulin pump and look at my blood sugar number. That was the movement that comes every morning when I knew I could get up. I must get up. I had things to do. From there, it was all uphill for an hour until I felt better.

More fun film facts

But I want to leave you with one fun fact about the difference between the movie and the book. Did you know that in the book, Dorothy’s shoes were not ruby red slippers? They were silver in the book, but the studio changed the color to take advantage of technicolor’s new technology.

Oh, and by the way, in the book, Dorothy remains in Oz.  In the end, she did not want to go home. She wanted to live among her newfound heroes. I think even with the disillusionment of seeing the Wizard as nothing more than a conman, she wanted to see how it all turned out.

There is a slew of academic-oriented articles and web sites about the Wizard of Oz. If you are interested, here are two I looked at while writing this blog. I did not use them as sources.  Instead, I used a combination of ideas from dozens of web sites and a few of my own. Given this assortment of sources, I did not cite all I looked at. But if you want a deep dive, it is all available on google scholar.

The Wizard of Oz: More Than Just a Children’s Story by Lauren Houlberg

16 Hidden Symbolic Messages in The Wizard of Oz You May Have Missed

PS: The flying monkeys still scare the heck of me, and I am 63 years old. As a young man, I watched every year, and I resolved to get past the flying monkeys. I did not get past them until I was almost 12. Those darn things got me every year.

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