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The Audiovisual, Part Two

The "Nightline" show had done a follow-up story on Morrie partly becau癳 the reception for the first show had been so strong. This time, when the cameramen and producers came through the door, they already felt like family. And Koppel himself was noticeably warmer. There was no feeling-out process, no interview before the interview. As warm-up, Koppel and Morrie exchanged stories about their childhood backgrounds: Koppel spoke of growing up in England, and Morrie spoke of growing up in the Bronx. Morrie wore a longsleeved blue shirt-he was almost always chilly, even when it was ninety degrees outside-but Koppel removed his jacket and did the interview in shirt and tie. It was as if Morrie were breaking him down, one layer at a time.

"You look fine," Koppel said when the tape began to roll.

"That's what everybody tells me," Morrie said. "You sound fine."

"That's what everybody tells me."

"So how do you know things are going downhill?"

Morrie sighed.. "Nobody can know it but me, Ted. But I know it."

And as he spoke, it became obvious. He was not waving his hands to make a point as freely as he had in their first conversation. He had trouble pronouncing certain words-the l sound seemed to get caught in his throat. In a few more months, he might no longer speak at all.

"Here's how my emotions go," Morrie told Koppel. "When I have people and friends here, I'm very up. The loving relationships maintain me.

"But there are days when I am depressed. Let me not deceive you. I see certain things going and I feel a sense of dread. What am I going to do without my hands? What happens when I can't speak? Swallowing, I don't care so much about-so they feed me through a tube, so what? But my voice? My hands? They're such an essential part of me. I talk with my voice. I gesture with my hands. This is how I give to people."

"How will you give when ............

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