It’s 10:55 in the morning on February 27, 2008. Last night, during the 20th Democratic National
Debate, I saw Senator Hillary Clinton implode, complaining to the ‘teacher,’ Mr.
Russert, that it was unfair that she keeps being called on first. My wife and I decided to
watch a TiVo’d Oprah episode instead.
Oprah’s guests were TV icons from days gone by: Rick Springfield (General Hospital
fame, rock star, singer of the original ‘Jesse’s Girl’), Fonz (Henry Winkler) from Happy
Days and Captain Kirk (William Shatner) from Star Trek. Rick Springfield looks pretty
damn good for a guy who’s about to be 60, even if his one millionth rendition of ‘Jesse’s
Girl’ sounded like it was being sung by vocal cords that had just finished running back to
back marathons. Henry Winkler was ecstatic over meeting Oprah and took time out to
mention that his daughter Zoe was Oprah’s biggest fan. He shared his story about how it
wasn’t until he was thirty-one that he learned that he was dyslexic! His entire
adolescence, he was told he was a slacker, stupid and ranked in the bottom 4% of his
class. He told Oprah that when you are a child that is told over and over again that you
aren’t measuring up to standard, like being asked to take geometry four times, it can be hard on your
self-esteem. But despite what everyone told him, he knew he was doing his best. He
didn’t give up. He never stopped believing he could make a difference. After he was
diagnosed, he started writing children’s books (The Hank Zipzer Collection) that
chronicle the trials and tribulations of his own childhood. Millions of copies have sold
worldwide. His books inspire every child that is told they aren’t good enough, smart
enough, or worth anything to look inside themselves and say, ‘I am great!’ That no
matter what anyone says, ‘I have greatness in me!’ The Fonz was the cool guy with the
leather jacket over 30 years ago. Turns out he’s pretty cool even outside of his leather
jacket! He took a disability and used it to show us that anything is possible if you believe
in yourself! To close the show, Captain Kirk came out hobbling a little with a cane
because he just had his hip replaced. He’s 77 years old and feels compelled to tell us that
the only reason he has a cane (for now) is because he’s still getting used to his new hip.
Still, this Captain of the Enterprise feels just as comfortable today at the helm as he did in
1966 when Star Trek first debuted.
After the hip conversation he shared with Oprah and all the viewers a story about his little
rock (stone). Apparently a few months ago, he started feeling one of the most severe
pains of his life while he was on the set of Boston Legal. The staff immediately called an
ambulance and he was rushed to the hospital. It was there that he was told that he had a
kidney stone and they were going to try to make him as comfortable as possible to see if
they could get him to pass it naturally! (Ouch! I have had a kidney stone and can relate!
They say the pain is the closest a man can go through to even begin to understand what a
woman goes through in childbirth). Thank God kidney stones don’t weigh 8 lbs and 11 ounces!
Fortunately for Mr. Shatner, he passed the stone. What happened after that is truly
amazing! The Golden Palace, an online company, offered him fifteen thousand dollars
for the kidney stone. They wanted to auction it on eBay for publicity. Well, Captain
Kirk figured that if their first offer was fifteen-thousand they might want to negotiate,
which they did! By the time he was done haggling they coughed up seventy-five
thousand dollars for his kidney stone. Then the cast and crew chipped in another twenty
thousand and used the money to buy a family in New Orleans a brand new home to
replace the one they lost during Katrina!
William Shatner with a little help from his friends was able to take an itsy bitsy,
teeny weenie kidney stone that probably would have ended up in the garbage and turned
it in to a real life place for a family to live in. Who knows, maybe we’ve got the wrong
person running for president?
Live long and prosper!