Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How I'm Like "The Doctor"

Apart from my unparalleled intellect and impeccable fashion sense, The Doctor (from the BBC’s behemoth of sci-fi awesomeness Dr. Who) and I share something else in common. Now, if you haven’t been watching this show, I recommend you suspend all American pretensions and settle down to invest those hard earned hours of evening time freedom. Your relationship with The Doctor may even feel like a betrayal of any romantic commitment you may be sustaining; there are enough seasons and regenerations of Doctor personalities to keep you well entertained and occupied, which is likely to distract you from other obligations. I recommend either sharing your Dr. Who experience with your significant other, or explaining that you will return to them after your mind blowing foray with the British time lord has made you a whole person.

Now you will finally understand those inside jokes of “it’s bigger on the inside,” and “insert random object or clothing are cool,” without feeling like you have been made privy to some kind of coded dirty talk. Plus, you’ll get to meet The Doctor, and I assure you that with the help of closed captioning you will be able to understand everything that he says. What he says will shine a light on humanity that often times seems undeserved (especially when I think about some human atrocities that continue to persist), and you may even feel all warm and tingly inside after he reminds you of the beauty of human existence and the prevailing human spirit to rally against some of the darker inclinations of the human condition.

So, this similarity between The Doctor and I occurred to me in the shower the other morning. I take really long showers. I am aware of the impending water shortage, the cost of water, and my roommate’s disgruntled mentioning’s of my lengthy bathing. However, this is where I have some of my best ideas and thoughts about everything I take in throughout the day. My acupuncturist calls them shower epiphanies, and so, at the risk of breaking intellectual property laws – I will forever use that idiom to describe my sparks of shower brilliance.

So, my shower epiphany occurred as I was thinking about The Doctor and all of his different companions. Like The Doctor, I prefer to travel with a companion. I used to be hard on myself in that I never felt like I had it within me to just pack my bags and travel through Europe on my own. Sure, I could meet people along the way, but, like The Doctor, I want someone to get into trouble with, someone to laugh with, someone to see what I see and share the whole experience of travel. Whether it be a friend or a romantic partner, the companion is something that The Doctor and I can’t be without when it comes to traveling. Now, apart from the fact that The Doctor’s companions are useful as human liaisons for the audience to relate to in a show that’s all spaceywacey and timeywimey, his companions also reflect the human-ness of The Doctor. Human beings, or homo sapiens, while being the most developed organism on Earth that have become self aware, are also animals, mammals to be exact, and we need the company of other humans in order to function as a human.

Think of The Jungle Book, little Mowgli took on the attributes of the Wolf because there was no human influence in his life. Humans digress when they are separated from their kind. Tom Hanks went and lost his mind on a deserted island in Castaway, seeking to personalize a volleyball for some sense of companionship. Viktor Frankl makes a point in A Man’s Search for Meaning that the Nazi’s in the camps tried to strip the Jews of all sense of their humanity, reducing them to their basic animal instincts, but Viktor kept hope alive in the form of the memory of the love he shared with his wife, and so he still possessed the will to live. And in true Shawshank-Anne Frankian fashion, the human capacity for hope and love in even the darkest of times is indeed something to marvel at and behold, and in the case of The Doctor, it is also something to protect. 

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