An especially interesting way to cope come from this comment on a forum for guitar players:
When I did my left shoulder in (broken fingers and thumbs and wrist/forearm too in past, and legs/ankles), I regained full use in about half the normal time, by learning to play the ukulele - it requires very little effort and no arm movement but the finger wiggling is apparently the best physio exercise you can do. Probably manage a ukulele whilst in plaster, did they they tell you to wiggle your fingers?Yes, the ukulele. The fellow quoted had a left arm injury, rather than right-sided like mine. But I think it might still be do-able if, after consulting with a PT professional, I decide to try it.
(One of the more constant things on my unwritten Things To Do Before I Die list has been "Learn to play a musical instrument." That list also includes "Learn to read & write music" and dozens of other tasks and aspirations.)
I've found there are lots of pre-made ukuleles available, ranging from very basic models around $70 up to more deluxe and/or electrified versions costing hundreds. For those willing to invest a little sweat-&-glue equity, there are DIY kits available, or instructions for making your own from a variety of materials, such as the legendary cigar-box uke, and even a ukulele made from cardboard.
There are a number of websites devoted to ukuleles, like the Tumblr blog Fuck Yeah Ukuleles (some images may be NSFW; a small substratum of ukulele players apparently prefer to play naked).
Besides being used as a musical instrument, some people use the surface of the ukulele as an art surface, handpainting the bodies in a multitude of styles and themes. Here's one for a fan of the ADVENTURE TIME cartoon:
|painted by Jenny7332 on deviantart.net|
Some custom ukuleles have variant shapes. There's actually an Autobot theme ukulele:
|made by Celentano Woodworks|
I gotta admit, tho', I'm not a big fan of Transformers, so that Autobot ukelele doesn't really excite me. But with a bit more Googling, I found a ukulele that actually transforms. Behold, the Folding Ukulele!:
The folding ukulele was designed by a guy named Brian Chan, who unsurprisingly is also an expert origamist. It comes as a DIY kit made from laser-cut bamboo and additional hardware. Reviews give it lower marks for sound quality, but the coolness factor is sky-high.
The weirdest ukulele, though, is probably a South American variant called a charango. The charango's body is traditionally made from the shell of an armadillo:
Does all this mean you'll see me with a ukulele of some sort in the future? Mmmmmm. . . maybe. I would be a lot more likely to take it up in private, rather than public. I'm not an extrovert, unlike some people:
That's John Scalzi, author of Old Man's War and other books, head honcho of the popular Whatever blog, and public ukuleleist. I like John's writing, but I gotta admit I think I admire him most for his ongoing efforts to make being a goofball more socially acceptable. Still-closeted goofballs everywhere thank you, John.