Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dust in the Wind

  I don't know what made me think of it the other day. Maybe I was looking for something to watch on television. Perhaps it was while I was streaming Netflix. Coulda been listening to some story on NPR. Who knows? Anyway, I realized I hadn't watched anything on Public Television in a very long time. I mean, nothing. No cooking shows. No Antiques Roadshow. Name one. Name a show you might like on PBS. Go ahead. Nope, haven't seen it. I don't know why exactly. I used to watch it all the time.

  Way back when, oh some forty years ago now, I used to watch Monty Python on Public Television. My mother always had the wrong idea about me watching that show. The first time she saw me watching there happened to be a woman on the screen. I don't remember exactly the scene, or which of the Pythons was in it. I do remember that there was a woman behind some shop counter, and that most of if not all of her breasts were exposed. I might be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I got that right. Now I mention that only because every other time my mother connected me with Monty Python she thought I watched simply because it was risque. Whenever she heard mention of that show she'd get this mischievous twinkle in her eye and remind me how much I use to enjoy watching it. She never stuck around long enough to realize that there was so much more to it than that. That even to my twelve year old self the naughty bits were incidental. These guys were like nothing I'd ever seen before. Like so many people had never seen. To me they were brave to be doing outlandish, and sometimes stupid things for laughs. Well, they were British too. That was pretty cool. They certainly shaped how I came to behave in my teens. Even if I eventually became more of a "wild and crazy guy ". That's getting a bit far afield though. I grew up just assuming that everybody got it and loved it the way I did. It was quite a surprise the first time I heard someone say they just didn't like Monty Python.

  There were of course others. Other Brit comedies from around that time that made their way to me through PBS. Who remembers The Goodies, or Doctor in the House? Are You Being Served? Fawlty Towers maybe? I know there are a few that I'm just not remembering right this minute.

  There are more still through the years. Chef, The Vicar of Dibly, and Blackadder are simply brilliant. Who can forget the social climbing Hyacinth Bucket - that's Bouquet! - in Keeping Up Appearances? Or how about Dame Judy Dench in As Time Goes By?
  Of course it's hasn't been all fun and games with British shows on PBS has it? Did you ever spend a Sunday night with Alistair Cooke and Masterpiece Theatre? Do you remember what a big deal Upstairs, Downstairs was? Ever heard of House of Cards? Yup, that was originally a BBC production. Then there was I, Claudius. How great was Derek Jacoby in that? Today's incarnation of Masterpiece Theatre, Masterpiece, has given us Downton Abbey. I could go on and on.

  Now one or two of you have probably noticed a gaping hole in this British TV on PBS thing I've got going on here. I guess it's time to ask the big question.

  Did you watch Dr Who?

  Sadly, I am not a true Whovian. I didn't watch the Doctor back then. To the shock of many I'm sure I just didn't like it. I didn't get it. I tried. I really did! It was just too hokey to me I guess. I tried watching Tom Baker as the fourth Doctor. His tenure from '74 - '81 stands as the longest of any other Doctor. I even tried to watch the fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. Though he played the Doctor, I remember him more fondly as Tristan Farnon in All Creatures Great and Small. 

  I've had a change of heart though. 

  I started watching the reboot of Dr Who on BBC America. It's got such a different feel to it now. It got me hooked. 

  And then...
  A funny thing happened last Thanksgiving. Just before actually. I got laid off. No, you're right. Not full of levity that. It happened just before Thanksgiving and I figured that was an excellent excuse to take the week off. Which lead me pretty much right into Christmas. And then of course the New Year. That brought me right round to feeling bad about being such a depressed slacker.

  So... I watched a lot of TV. Binged a few series on Netflix and whatnot. BBC America even showed a Dr Who marathon. I sat for hours at a time watching this new sparkly Dr Who series. Through all of that though I kept pondering why I didn't like the original. Was it really as bad as I remembered? Maybe I just wasn't ready for it at the time. I had to find out. I honestly don't remember if someone told me the good Dr was on Netflix, or I took a chance and did a search, but there it was. There was one hundred some odd episodes dating all the way back to the very first Dr! I was determined to watch them all. I was going to witness the show's evolution. I was going to figure out what I'd missed. I was going to become a true fan. I watched every episode available. 


  I still didn't like the early Dr. 

  It was then that I remembered an old Facebook post from my college roommate about watching an episode of the reboot. I had to ask him if he remembered what he had said. He was nice enough to provide me the very post to read. It said:

  "Just watched Dr. Who - I love the themes of loyalty, continuity, and connectedness. Loyalty across space and time." 

  That! That is what I really wanted to share with you. As surely as I sit here trying to figure out how to join all of this together I can assure you of one thing. We are all connected. We are all here to both teach and learn from each other. The kind words you give have such a greater effect then you'll ever know. Just as the harsh things. Each has the power to affect one person, then another, and another until we are all nothing but dust in the wind. The world seems so lost at times. Suppose though that we could all help fix it. What if next time you believed for a moment that how you treat another person could eventually shake this planet to its core? You know. Instead of rushing to be first in line you let someone go ahead of you. Instead of scolding a kid for doing a childish thing, be an example of what you want from that child. Maybe there's a reason someone has been on your mind lately. Look them up. Make contact if you haven't seen them in a while. You never know. You might be just what they need. One act of kindness could change everything. 

  Don't forget what Red says; I'm pullin' for ya.

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