Talking to Myself

I talk to myself all the time. When my husband Bill was alive before his strokes, it drove him nuts. After his strokes, he said he liked it because he could always tell what I was doing. When you can’t see, walk, or use your left arm or leg, hearing your significant other chatter about nothing can be reassuring, I suppose.

That’s not what this post is about, though. I just finished reading Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself by Alan Alda, the actor who portrayed Hawkeye on MASH, one of my favorite television shows during the 1980’s. This book is a collection of humorous essays on a variety of topics including his childhood, army life, acting experiences on stage and screen, and what it’s like to be a celebrity. In one piece, he explains how his father encouraged him to consider a career in medicine, although he really wanted to be an actor, and then talks about a commencement address he gave to a class of graduating medical students. In another, he describes how he learned to shoot with a rifle at age eleven, used it to euthanize his pet rabbits, then helped his grandchildren bury their pet rabbit after showing them how to make telephones out of old shoes. Most of his essays contain speeches he gave at various commencement ceremonies. His final piece is an address he would give if he were on his death bed in which he urges graduates to “go forth and stay there.” Alan Alda was born on January 28th, 1936 in New York City. His original name was Alfonso Joseph D’abruzzo. He’s known for his work on MASH, The Aviator, and What Women Want. He married Arlene Alda on March 15, 1957. They have three daughters: Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice.

Did you know that Alan Alda almost turned down the offer to star on MASH because he didn’t like the idea of using war as a backdrop for humor? He then agreed but insisted that each episode have at least one scene in the operating room to show the ravages of war. He studied at Fordham University in New York where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1956. He also attended the Sorbonne in Paris during his junior year. In the army, he went AWOL every weekend because he was dating the woman he eventually married. He was selected as the most believable actor in the U.S. and did a cartwheel down the aisle on his way to accept an award. To learn more, visit http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000257/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm / .

Alan Alda is like his character on MASH. Although Hawkeye cracks under pressure a few times, he takes life in stride, tells a joke or two, and goes on. Sometimes, I wish I could do the same. I recommend this book to anyone needing a few laughs.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author

Order my new poetry collection from Finishing Line Press.

Order my new poetry collection from Amazon.

f

Vote for my new book idea.

 

My Favorite TV Doc

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a paramedic after watching episodes of Emergency on television. I fantasized about marrying one of the firefighters and working together as a team, him putting out fires and me tending to the wounded and riding with them in the ambulance to the hospital. Fortunately for those who might have been entrusted to my care, I realized later that the health care profession was not a viable option for someone with a visual impairment.

When I was in college, I became a fan of MASH, a TV sitcom about doctors at a mobile army surgical hospital in Korea during the war. My favorite character was Hawkeye, one of the doctors played by Allen Alda. He could take a bad situation like war and make it funny, even though it wasn’t. He inspired the following poem which appears in the fall/winter edition of Magnets and Ladders. You can read the full issue at http://www.magnetsandladdeers.org .

HAWKEYE

Named after the character

in The Last of the Mohicans,

he’s the doc I’d want to have

if I were wounded in Korea.

 

Like any single man,

he flirts with nurses, USO stars,

Even a doctor and a journalist,

But he knows better

Than to use them.

 

At the end of the day,

With his great sense of humor,

terrific bedside manner,

he makes war funny,

even though it’s not.

 

Did you or do you have a favorite television character?

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver, and That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

Order That’s Life from Finishing Line Press.

Order That’s Life from Amazon.