“Your happiness grows in direct proportion to your acceptance
and in inverse proportion to your expectations.”
Michael J. Fox has always been a kind of hero to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not someone who idolizes human beings, but I have always been admiring his work and his ability to stay above himself. I still remember myself as a snot-nosed 6-year old philosopher sitting on an isle on a transatlantic flight to the US in 1985, and watching a strange movie with this cool kid, a crazy-haired doc and a flying car. I couldn’t hear the sound because it was a few rows forward in business-class (us cattle in coach had to watch something else), but this cool dude stood out. As did the car. Back in School I would argue with kids over which was the cooler car: the silver DeLorean that could fly, or that black TransAm that could talk. Ah, the 80s.
When a video-store opened around the corner it was a given that I would get my dad to rent me Back To The Future I through III. I could relate to him on many levels, not just height-wise. He was everything a cool kid should be: self-confident, witty, cute and funny. I never really saw Family Ties as that show never made it to my TV screen, but other movies did imprint him as Teh Awesome in my impressionable young mind: The Secret of my Success, For Love Or Money and especially Greedy, more so for teaming him up with Kirk Douglas. In so many ways I wanted to be him. Just watch this 80s Pepsi commercial to see what I mean.
I wanted to be that cool. And then… I grew too tall. I was somewhat short in my school years, but alas a growth-spurt set in around 15, and now I am too tall to be him. Still, I followed his career into SpinCity and beyond. When he bowed out of SpinCity I knew something was wrong, as did we all (why would he always have his hands in his pockets?) and by then his Parkinson’s was full out of the closet.
For years I never heard from him again, except for the occasional mention in the news, a graceful come-back at Rush “foot-in-mouth” Limbaugh and a cameo on Scrubs.
Now in his late 40s and struggling with this ailment he reflected back on his life in his new book A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Future. NPR made an interview with him on that book that enticed me to write this post to share said interview. Although a radio interview where Mike drops jokes, wit and truths as he always has, it is Parkinson’s that is ever present, even in the voice-only interview. We may have seen him on TV with his condition, but it is in the audio that it somehow truly comes across.
Don’t let it ever be said that someone called him a chicken…