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Saturday, February 21, 2009

E.R.: How a show intertwines with a life



During the course of your life, if you watch TV regularly, you will find a rare show that mirrors or reflects the march of time.

I can remember the early episodes of ER (1994-2009) with Noah Wyle, George Clooney, Eriq LaSalle and many, many others. I watched the show not for the ER speak, or the never-ending, soapy, romantic hook-ups, or even the Chicago locale that is the backdrop. No, the characters were draw. Somehow, taking Michael Crichton’s brain and putting it with young, inspired actors led to a great and unforgettable TV series.

Though I watch religiously from 1995-2000, meaning, I would put off going to a watering hole just for ER, I also had my periods on sabbatical while going through the ‘ER of Life.’

I went through bankruptcy in 1997 – the 1st real sign my post-college life wouldn’t be quite as charmed as Dr. John Carter’s poor little rich boy early days. There is often a sense of privilege and pride in knowing you are not so screwed up as your fellow classmates. Not I. The finance doctor did teach me a lesson, but that was only one of many trips to the Emergency Room for me.

In 1999, I went to an actual emergency room for various reasons, none of which were really resolved that particular night. The days after my talks to concerned folks did not resolve much, except that I needed a new line of work. And I had to evolve in my thinking…still.

ER evolved too. As George Clooney took his big screen looks to La-La where the ocean laps cold invigorating water, a bunch of new med school grads and nurses came in to bask in the small screen light. Guys name Luka and girls name Sam would become the new hunks and heroines to see on Thursday night at 9PM. (Now George uses his fame to fight the problems in Darfur. Good Egg that Clooney...)

By early 2001, I was up and down, and soon, out on another prolonged ER visit. This time it was a disease of the mind and soul. This disease needs treatment the type of which most would rather swallow arsenic, or take the lash to their bare back, to avoid. Well, I took the treatment for 4 years. My ER visit this time introduced me to terminal folks – not dying, but dead in spirit – as 80% would never seek, or reach a cure on this particular interlude into the abyss.

2005, the episodes of my life seem to drag on…ER too reached a predictable level of success.

The times had changed. Technology had definitely changed. The world in just a matter of a decade had significantly switched from an America going places, to an America going nowhere fast, unless it was with an Ipod, Iphone, Blackberry, or some other digital doo-hickey that I no longer can afford, in hand. Avarice is not my primary vice – but I do love being near the cutting edge or beta testing something... (Like a revolving-MRI or CT scan or other advanced medical tools and devices.)

As 2008-09 has seen its final season of ER, I am praying my crisis of head will not lead my heart and soul somewhere astray. I wish my learning about life wouldn’t have been so episodic – or that I would have marathoned ER several times when the chips got me down during my personal ER trials and tribulations.

I bid ER farewell.

Dr. Carter, I bid farewell. You made the show…come full circle.

Dr. Michael Crichton passed away before the last curtain fell. But he gave us a worthy body of work – writing plenty of interesting thrillers to go along with a TV medical drama that normally goes astray. Yours didn’t in 15 seasons.

So my grow up life has seen it’s last ER…

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cycles: The World Is Full of Them

I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist or a Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry/Physics or Literature to know the world operates on natural cycles and human-created ebbs and flows.
We live by a clock that tells us - those that function on a routine - to get up and go out and change our planet. We watch the seasons for when to plant and when to feel better about ourselves. (Seasonal Affect Disorder…) We determined the cycle of the galaxy - ask our Mayan friends, oh yeah, we destroyed them - and wait on a big event that likely will come and go without a wimper…like the Millennium Bug.
We design our lives and livelihood around elections, stock market rises (and falls) and the next big thing in tech, entertainment or social discord. We pray every Sunday if we are faithful Christians; every Saturday if Jewish; and multiple times per day if Muslim. The larger cycles of weather (El Nino, the ocean currents, ice ages, et. al.) influence farming, living arrangements, and where we find ourselves in the future.
We just function on a cycle - ask any woman.
But the cycles created by other bipeds are the most annoying, for they, usually leave those without the resources and connections twisting in the wind hoping to catch a sail boat that will export them to safety and security land again.
We’ve seen this phenomenon with Globalization. The creative destruction of America - shipping off costly labor forces to cheaper lands in the SE Asia. This cycle is neither inherently good or bad - it just is. But the powers behind such a shift can be seen as promotely a timely shift in power from one arena to another…at the expense of Americans.
As Britain dominated the 19th century, and America the 20th, so shall China dominate the 21st. But this is all about empires - the rise and fall, the ebb and flow - and they too will see someone take over (or take back) their dominion.
Meanwhile, forces unseen, but often spoken about, will continue to contort the world to their cycle of power and supremacy. The cycle will go on - passively, like this post - but will be just as willing to punch the clock and do the time here.
Let me know when the rinse cycle is up on your washer. It’s time to dry ourselves out.