Being Human

Although this is one of my favorite television series (the US version) to come along in a while, (I know, I say that about all of them) I would like to share an e-mail a friend of mine in Tokyo sent me the other day.

Dear Fred: Economy, finances are all rapidly dropped
down. We are all in terror, which we have never
experienced. I personally don’t know what to do.  My
place is about more than 200km (125miles)away from the
reactors.  Everybody has fear that we might lose
everything.  People even survived now becoming sick as
well.  I am trembled.  Please keep praying for us.

It isn’t often that tragedies of such scale are so personal. You can almost feel the terror she must be experiencing. It is in these times that it is important for us to be human, put aside our differences and reach out to a fellow person without any thoughts of prejudice, or malice but to just offer support. The support doesn’t have to be financial and if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I don’t support the blatant giving of funds, especially to organizations where up to 60% of the funds goes towards running the organization. I support giving in the most personal of ways. Go online, send a note of support or better yet, when it is not so dangerous, get yourself to Japan and help them rebuild.

colombiaAnyway, I wanted to use this week’s blog to talk about my trip to Colombia- my journey to being human. Being Human, the TV show, however is about a vampire, a ghost and a werewolf (who walk into a bar- no just kidding) who live together and are trying to figure out how to be human. In their case not to kill for blood (vampire), not to hurt anyone once per month on the full moon (werewolf) and how to learn what is missing in order to move on (the ghost). But what really happens in each episode is that despite them being monsters, it is their humanity and not the inherent nature of their “monster-ness” that gets explored. It is something we all share – the constant struggle to be a better person and to live with the demons and monsters we all have inside of us.

But I digress from the topic of Colombia. Despite the fact that it set me way back in television watching and the reason this blog is over a week late, it was a fantastic opportunity. Yes, when I got home, both my DVR’s were full and hadn’t recorded everything. But as luck would have it, I have all channels on demand and most shows did not play in March. So, I have become a virtual recluse, leaving my home only to walk the dog and to go to the office. I feel as if I live on the Paramount lot- that seems more real than the actual streets of NYC. If everything goes according to schedule, and I don’t have to add any specials, like Pee Wee Herman’s playhouse to the list, I should finish sometime in 2013- just kidding- next Friday; just in time to go to LA- Yeah- the land where they make all this TV magic. Could I be any happier? (Accent on the word, “be” a la Chandler Bing)

beachAgain I digress. So, I go to Bogota, the capital of the country where I was to lecture at the medical school for two days. The weather was worse than New York’s. I wanted to kill myself. It was damp, raining and 50 degrees- no excuse for a city almost on the equator. I guess I should add that is 8000 feet in the air so I couldn’t breathe either. However, the reception at the medical school couldn’t have been better. My topic was about alternative medicine in the United States and they couldn’t have been happier, informed on the topic and best of all- interested! They asked the most intelligent questions even about things I didn’t bring up because I thought it was going to be too advanced for their knowledge on the subject.

I did manage to annoy the chairman of the department of oncology. You all would have been so proud. He asked me why I didn’t discuss the use of nutritional supplements in cancer treatments which many people use, even in Colombia. I told him it was too controversial a topic. Yet, he persisted so when he said to me, “is it because it’s all unproven?” I finally turned to him and said that once he was finished burning and poisoning all of his patients – they come to me. That shut him up.

So off to the Pacific coast where I was working in town called Nuqui. The Pacific coast of Colombia is about 1200 miles long with less than 10,000 people living there – situated on the beach – my kind of town. Lost could have been filmed there. I get off the airplane after flying for twelve hours – to get anywhere in Colombia is 12 hours- I get in the cab or in this case, an old red broken-down pick-up truck and within five minutes, get stopped by the rebels. We had to get out of the truck and all bags were searched. They were quite polite about it and after an hour, we were on our way – to where, I wasn’t so sure. It took three hours over no roads in pouring rain driving 5 to 10 mph to get to where we had to meet a boat. The boat took 45 minutes to take us to base camp where we were met by – you guessed it- more rebels. At least we had arrived.

Speaking of arriving, when did they decide to put on another housewife show. I simply can’t keep up with Bravo anymore. Where are they going next? Cleveland? When I first watched the show (how could I not), I thought the franchise had officially jumped the shark. But, I didn’t have to wait long to find the humanity of that show- Marysol’s mother. She is a genius character and one that can only be in Miami- she has had so much plastic surgery she looks beyond Asian; and she’s always drunk and inappropriate- Yeah!!!!

Well this is getting too long so you will have to wait until next time to hear about the rain, the snakes, the lack of electricity and the 45 minute boat ride to work each way. I hope everyone’s been eating well while I’ve been away but if not, you can always take Joan River’s advice from Joan and Melissa- eat only what you can spell or as she referred to this as the Britney Spears diet.