Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

May 8, 2009

Hey Teen Wolf…Grab Marty McFly, Hop In His DeLorean And We Can Go On A Few ‘Adventures Of An Incurable Cynic’

41lnL2+YJIL._SS500_I didn’t have to travel the globe to understand the nature or depths of my cynicism. All I had to do was sit on my couch, flip on the television and watch an hour-long ABC special on how Michael J. Fox, a man crippled with Parkinson’s Disease, looks at life every day with hope and optimism. On the other hand, I feel I am cursed with the dreaded Ripa Luck anytime things don’t go according to plan: sleeping through my alarm clock on the day of an important meeting, running into a co-worker while the girls are in meltdown mode, a flat tire on my “in town” car or missing a connecting flight.

To put things in perspective, I am just waiting for the phone call from Jenn saying, “you’ll never guess what happened” the day after we receive a sizeable tax refund in the mail. In years past, it has been a crack in the bathtub or a busted water heater. This time around our prospective trip to the Happiest Place on Earth got rerouted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center with Jenn having gallbladder surgery.

99.9% of the people who tuned in to see Michael J. Fox interview people from all walks of life about the optimism they possess experienced a renewing of spirits and a sense of hope. I guess you can consider me the outcast 0.1% because I felt a twinge of guilt along with some bitterness towards Fox.

CD2A40A0BDA122F15E4F8D7293B677The bad taste in my mouth has nothing to do with Alex B. Keaton, the former Young Republican, pulling an “Arlen Specter” by flip flopping politically due to his interest in stem cell research.  It hurts me that I felt this way after watching the special because Michael J. Fox has had a special place in my heart ever since Marty McFly hopped into that DeLorean DMC-12.  Fox was a huge part of my childhood and with me when I grew into a man. When special changes began happening to my body, I was able to narrow down the cause to the onslaught of puberty or that I was secretly a werewolf thanks to watching Scott Howard surf on a van in Teen Wolf.

I could pass on Spin City, but when he made a cameo appearance on not only my favorite sitcom (Scrubs), but its’ greatest episode ever (My Porcelain God), the respect grew for Michael J. Fox. The admiration factor reached an all time high level the day I realized he was the voice behind Stuart Little, which is a DVD that allowed me a moment of sanity by occupying the girls’ attention on a busy afternoon.

Teen wolfThe peak of my frustration came when Fox met with doctors and scientists to give us a better understanding on the nature of optimism. According to their research, they stated that some individuals are more predisposed to be optimistic. Lucky ducks. They cannot help but feel optimistic. It’s just the way they are wired. Somewhere in their DNA they have hopeful genes.

If we are to accept these findings as truth, than would one be correct in reasoning that there is a recessive gene that sparks pessimism? Are you telling me people can be cynical by nature? Does that mean I am off the hook when those two special words “just figures” roll out of my mouth. After bad knees, poor vision and high cholesterol, my DNA might finally be paying off. It’s about time. Just figures.

December 31, 2008

Dr. John Dorian – A Real Man Nicknamed Nancy

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Nancy Is A Real Man

Nancy Is A Real Man



Queue the montage music from one of the most underrated comedies of all times: Scrubs. This soundtrack seems fitting for my reflections considering I learn the majority of my life lesson from the final few minutes of Scrubs episodes. It’s scary when 95% of the MP3’s found on your iPod can be traced back to this show.  In my eyes, John Dorian is a Buddha like figure dispensing nuggets of truth in bite size portions all while having amazing hair. I guess with that last statement the cat is now officially out of the bag. I have a bit of a man crush on Zach Braff. Luckily, this month has proven I am manly enough to admit to my affection.

As I look back on these past thirty days of manliness much of what I have learned has been shaped around J.D.’s character. If you know how random my brain works, you would understand the logic behind a guy nicknamed ‘Bambi’ being my point of reference for masculinity.


It’s Guy Love – From the moment they met at William & Mary College, J.D. and Turk’s relationship has been closer to codependency than friendship.  They can barely stand to be apart. Their bond is so strong that they are able to call one another out when the other has blown it, dropped the ball or has a wrong perspective on a certain situation. If we are ever to make any headway on what it means to be a man, a ‘Band of Brothers’ is a pre-requisite. I’ve learned I cannot do this whole process alone – not just when it comes to being more of a man, but whatever these next 11 months might hold.  Luckily, I have guys who care more about my character than they do my friendship. This is when a man knows he is in good company.


Sleeping Around In The On-Call Room Gets You A Son Named Gilligan – I guess it is true that chicks really love doctors because J.D. was quite the ladies man. It seemed like every episode he was having a different romantic liaison with a female. He never learned those fleeting moments of pleasure were not worth the eventual aggravation they caused. All they got him were headaches and a son named Gilligan. One of man’s greatest downfalls is our tendency to act before thinking. In our eyes, men were not born with a funnel to process their thoughts. We see what we want and we go after it without contemplating the impact of our decision. Unfortunately, our lives do not resemble a sitcom where everything gets neatly solved in 30 minutes or less. Our excuse is we are just being a man by acting on our impulses. It is a pretty sad statement when our standard for manliness is set so low even ‘The Todd’ could reach it. Over these past 30 days I’ve begun to realize that a true man is one who walks with integrity.


We All Have Our Elliot –For the first 3 seasons of Scrubs, we watched J.D. wrestle with the emotions he feels for Elliot Reed. They tore him up inside because he had no clue what to do with them. It shouldn’t be a surprise because emotions (not just dealing with the opposite sex) are a tricky thing to work through for us guys. I don’t know if I’ve really figured out what the proper way is to process my emotions. Are you manly when you bottle them up inside until you finally blow your top and punch a hole through a wall? Or what about the other extreme where every time you hear the song Cats in the Cradle that you ball like a baby? I’m guessing it is somewhere in between. Where that line is I am not quite sure.


Secretly We Enjoy Being Called Nancy and Newbie – Dr. Cox is J.D.’s hero. He is the type of doctor he wants to be one day. Whether it is divorce, a dad who is always at the office or an absent father, we have lost many of our heroes. One of the reasons for our confusion as men is that more and more of us are growing up without a father figure who exemplifies these qualities. We are left to make up our own target so we can take our shot in the dark. Once again, I count myself as fortunate to have a father who took me under his wing and gave me something to shoot for becoming.


There will be more reflections to come on 30 Days To Becoming A Man. Unfortunately; I have to cut this one short for a very important reason.  WGN is playing my favorite Scrubs episodes – “My Porcelain God.” It’s the one where the Janitor installs a john on the roof, which gets dubbed ‘the epiphany toilet’ due to its’ special power of reflection. Perhaps I should see how much this type of toilet costs at Home Depot. After all, most men do their best thinking on the pot.  

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