I’ll start by saying my son loves Back to the Future. He even dressed like Marty McFly for Halloween, to the delight of others of my generation. His generation? They were a little baffled. After all, BTTF has not been remade as everything else from the 1980s has been.
And thank God for that.
To be more specific, my son likes the last 40 minutes or so of Back to the Future III, because it contains a long sequence with trains: people stealing them, crawling on them, and eventually blowing them up. So, by now you understand that Michael J. Fox is pretty common in our household. We even celebrated Back to the Future day last October 21st. (The futuremost point in the trilogy, duh.) My son kept asking me why Michael J. Fox never comes over to our house.
How does a parent even begin to explain that one?
So, it wasn’t that strange that I should pick up Fox’s audiobook version of his book Always Looking Up from the library. It is read by the author himself, which was a big factor in getting it. I like him. I never had his picture hung on my bedroom walls, but he is highly likeable. Ashton Kutcher fills that void nowadays.
Fox explains right away that the title has a double meaning. First, he is short and has to look up at everyone. He is so short that I am actually a quarter of an inch taller than him! The second is that he is an optimist.
I must admit I picked up this book hoping it would be some sort of “how to” book on how to convert me into being an optimist. No such luck. He does talk about a stool with three legs. The legs are Optimism, Hope, and Faith. He says if you are missing any of them, then your stool will collapse. I am not sure I even have a half a leg. Maybe that is why I am always falling on my ass.
Not being a guide, he instead tells stories about how his optimism pulled him through. The book includes how when he realized there needed to be more funding for Parkinson’s research, he started his own foundation. Then as government regulations put up huge roadblocks to further research, he began to get involved politically for candidates who were pro-stem cell research.
I have learned way more about Parkinson’s than I ever thought I would and hopefully more than I will ever need to. The swaying, talkative Michael J. Fox we have seen for the last couple decades on camera is more of a side effect of his medication than his actual disease. Parkinson’s actually makes you freeze up. It makes it hard to have facial expressions, to walk, talking to slurred. Fox takes carbidopa/levodopa to ease these symptoms. He has to calculate when to take the medicine so that it will be in effect when he will be on camera. Sometimes he gets it right. Sometimes he gets it wrong.
Always Looking Up makes me wish I had read his previous book, Lucky Man, first. Listening to him talk I wish he was my next door neighbor and I could hang out with him and be his friend. He is both intelligent (which cannot always be said for the character of Marty McFly) and funny. He is so affable that while listening to the CD in the car, my son asked since Michael J. Fox was talking to us, if we could talk back to him.
Sadly, no. He might be a Lucky Man, but he is also a busy man with a very full plate of activism, acting, and family.
I am glad Fox took time out to share it all with the rest of us.
Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
Be Careful What You Wish For – AVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It – THE CONTINUING ROMANCE!
The Wind Could Blow a Bug – WHERE IT ALL BEGAN!