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There’s Something About Dick

January 4, 2009

Dick Clark, that is. Get your minds out of the gutter, people! OK, don’t really…..I like gutter minds.

Watching Dick Clark on New Year’s Eve….it bothered me at first. And then it bothered me that it bothered me. I admit that I got teary eyed the first time I heard him speak that night. Though, that may have been due to the fact that my Mother kept uttering “Och, a shame” over and over. In between mad giggling….not giggling at Dick Clark, I don’t think, though she does have a rather wide-wale evil streak…….but because she was totally faced on champagne. Oh yeah, I spent New Year’s Eve on my couch……with my Mother. Um, if you stop reading now, that is totes understandable. Sigh.

So, back to Dick Clark. At first, it brought back to mind how in the ’90s there was that trend for a while when every award show trotted out Mohammed Ali, who couldn’t even walk onstage unaided and who really could not even talk. It also reminded me how glad I was that the Reagan family never saw fit to parade Ronald Reagan around after his Alzheimer’s became debilitating….Ronald Regan was a man full of dignity and grace and Alzheimer’s takes all that away; to me it is one of the cruelest diseases, as it takes away not only your dignity, but your memories. I choose to remember Reagan as I knew him best. As a child, when he was my President, my hero, the Great Communicator and a member of a tag-team extraordinaire with Margaret Thatcher.

Reagan’s case was different, of course. And I was beginning to think that I was projecting (to use a hippie dippie phrase, forgive) my own fears and discomfort on Mr. Clark. I started to think that he, in fact, deserved mad props for NOT giving up, for doing what HE wants to do and what he enjoys and to hell with what anyone thinks. Thus, I did what I usually do when feeling confused and out of sorts; I googled. I like googling. I like saying “I’m going to google”, as it makes me giggle in a beavis and butthead way….I am a woman-child so to me “google” sounds like a geek word for Diddle. (again, if you stop reading now, I don’t blame you)

Anyhoopsterino, I googled (*giggle*), flying solo as always, sigh, and came across a Huffington Post thingamajig regarding Mr. Clark. So, I read the bloggity blog post on HuffPo (glutton for punishment, I am!) and the comments in response to it served to strengthen my emerging “You Go, Boy” feelings towards him. The comments, as always, were repugnant to me. Some examples:

Love the way he drools when he attempts to speak, while he soils his new Armani suit live on tv. Rock on man, rock on.

R E T I R E He can’t even talk anymore. It is painful to listen to him.

He’s holding out until he can have his head put in a bell jar, a la Futurama.

I’m with you. I wish Dick Clark as long and happy a life as a man can possibly have, but it’s a bit of a downer having a stroke victim in a wheelchair host the big New Year’s Eve show.

So sorry, HuffPo “contributors”……sorry that Mr. Clark ruins your hopeanchange, butterflies and cotton candy puppy dog tails and kitten whiskers take on life. I, for one, find real life FAR better than going into throes of excitement over our President elect and his Oh So Uber-coolness and his shirtless photos (which kind of annoy me……I don’t really wish to see the leader of the free world shirtless or in shorts. Call me old-fashioned. Seriously, call me old-fashioned, I like it)

Mr. Clark is doing us all a wonderful service, as he has throughout his long and illustrious career…..he reminds us all that we WILL get old. Sometimes we will be stricken with illness, we will get weaker. We will have downfalls, we will be beaten down at times……but we will struggle to get back up. That is the choice we all have…….how we will face those setbacks…and if we will choose to face them at all.

I will always have a fond place in my heart for the old Dick Clark, for “America’s Oldest Teenager”, for American Bandstand, for “good beats that you can dance to”. However, I will now choose to remember Dick Clark as I saw him the other night on his Rockin’ New Year’s Eve special…….a man who faces adversity head-on, who doesn’t give up, who doesn’t give in to fears of humiliation, who doesn’t just lay down and wait to die. Who struggles, yet always has a smile on his face and joy in his eyes. Who thoroughly enjoys his life to the absolute fullest.

So this year, I am making a resolution to not care about being embarrassed, to allow myself to face humiliation, to meet things head on and to take risks so that I too may live a life of purpose and joy. I’m singing Mr. Clark’s tune; it has a good beat and I can dance to it.

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