Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I'd Like to Thank Ruth Gordon and Han Solo

For emotional support we turn today – almost three months since I put the condo on the market – to a dead actor and a fictional character from a movie.

Drum roll, please – I give you Ruth Gordon and Han Solo.

What an unlikely pair, you say?

You are wrong.

In an interview long ago -- my newspaper clipping is yellowed and brittle -- Ruth Gordon (1896-1985) said, “Never, under any circumstance, face the facts.”

I liked that then and I like that now, especially considering that there are currently 19 other 2BD 2BA condos in Creve Coeur available for under $158,000.

Gordon went on to say that had she faced facts in her youth, she never would have become an actor. She was short (5’1”), she grew up in a small town (Quincy, Mass.) and she didn’t know anyone who had become an actor, or even anyone who knew anyone who had become an actor. She also was not particularly pretty, though she was perfectly pleasant looking.

“How does someone like that become an actor?” Gordon asked in the interview. The question was hypothetical. She won an Oscar, an Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards and she also wrote plays, film scripts and books.

Then Gordon answered her own question: “Never, under any circumstance, face the facts.”

Han Solo, that’s your cue.

In a book I co-wrote with two oncologists (Chemotherapy & Radiation for Dummies) and also in numerous speeches I have delivered in and around Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I have often quoted the daring, the dashing, the damn sexy Han Solo. Here’s the story:

In the first “Star Wars” movie, at one point Han Solo is trying to maneuver the dilapidated X-wing fighter through a field of asteroids. Ever helpful, C3PO starts to rattle off the odds of the plane making it through the field.

Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, turns to the droid in a rage and yells, “Don’t tell me the odds! NEVER tell me the odds!”

That’s a great sentence to repeat when doctors rattle off statistics (means, medians and the like), stages of disease and grades of tumors. I do not have fulfilling relationships with numbers, especially scary numbers, so why learn them? If you learn them, won’t they just flit around in your brain and drive you crazy when you could concentrate instead on working with your doctors in an effort to save your own life?

“Never tell me the odds.” That’s what I told my doctors 14 years ago, and now I walk around the condo muttering the mantra, instead of struggling to calculate the percentage of people looking for 2BD 2BA condos in Creve Coeur versus the glut of such condos in the neighborhood.

So that’s what’s up here. I’m not facing facts and I’m not figuring out the odds of selling the place.

Meanwhile, San Francisco waits.

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