About 20 years ago, I noticed , or rather others noticed, that I had a little bit of a shake in my hands. People would ask if I was nervous. I wasn't, but their asking did. A few years ago, I guess the tremor in my hands was a little more pronounced than usual while onstage - it was probably due to not having eaten before the show and also having consumed a Diet Coke.
Again, I didn't really notice it, but one busybody audience member did. She pulled me aside after the show, and said, confidentially, that she could tell I was struggling and that I really needed to get help for my drinking problem. She continued that she was a social worker who specializes in drugs and alcohol - so she could tell. At first, I didn't know what the heck this crazy person was talking about. Then I realized she thought I had the DTs. I thanked her and told her that I appreciated her concern, but that I was not an alcoholic. In fact, the only time I got really stinking drunk and sick was at David Miller's Bar Mitzvah in 7th grade. A bunch of us snuck out a bottle of Mogen David Concord Grape, and passed it around. Horrible shitty toxic sugar syrup! I told the woman that I learned my lesson well and early. Still, she offered to be my sponsor.
Anyway, in the last couple of years, I've talked to so many people who have 'the shakes". Essential Tremor is so common. It's estimated over 2.2% of the population has it to varying degrees. Although it's not dangerous like, say, Parkinson's, it can be somewhat debilitating for some and embarrassing. I have trouble with certain tasks. Don't ask me to put eyeliner on you.
The one thing I will say that's positive: I like the little vibrato it gives to my left hand when I play guitar. It's sweet.
Earlier this year, Adam Mckay (Anchorman, The Big Short, and an upcoming movie on Dick Chaney) and I bonded on our anti- Trump songs and shaky hands. He was a cover boy for one issue of "Tremor Talk". I told him that I had to be too. So he connected me with the International Essential Tremor Foundation. If you got ET, it's the best place for info and resources.
Here is my Essential Tremor theme song,"Shaky Hands". I recorded it for the live Jill Sobule/John Doe EP, "A Day At The Pass"
By the way, my Shaky Hand doctor, told me one of the things I could do to calm down the shakes before a show is to take a couple of sips of...alcohol. So there Miss Busybody social worker lady!