December 2008

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Emily

Are you looking for a good cause to support during this holiday season? Why not help out Emily Walter, a thirteen year-old who is suffering from cystic fibrosis and is currently preparing for a lung transplant. Thirteen is awfully young to have to go through this. I’m lucky I didn’t need mine until I was 29.

Even if you have health insurance, lung transplants can be very expensive. Expensive medical tests are done prior to surgery, the transplant itself costs $250,000 and up, the immunosuppression and other medicines are pricey, and then there are all the clinic visits and hospital stays in the months and years that follow. Put another way, a transplant and subsequent care can cost more than a college education.

Health care is fantastic in this country. The way we pay for and allocate it is not. There’s no reason the former has to lead to the latter. (Contrary to what the “socialism!”-screaming right would have us believe.) I hope President Obama will really shake up the system. In the meantime, we have to do what we can to help those families who are facing the type of major health crisis that inevitably leads to a financial crisis. I was lucky that my father was a corporate lawyer but even for my parents all my medical bills have been a big burden. In today’s America, major health crises are what I have called the reverse lottery.

I was alerted to Emily’s plight by a good friend of mine from high school and college who is now a distinguished professor in Virginia. Emily and his son go to the same school. Perfessor Dave (as I call him) asked me to give her a shout out in this space. I contributed $25 and I’m asking my readers to contribute a little something too. Here is her website:

http://www.cotaforemilyw.com

It being the holiday season, it is time for ye olde Hallmark holiday movie. Just in case you don’t have a chance to watch this season’s Hallmark holiday movie, I thought I would provide a guide to writing your own.

Here is the formula you must follow, and it’s also the title of your movie:

The [Color] [Item] of [Proper name] [Place type]

[Color] Any color will do.

[Item] The plot revolves around this item but it can be pretty much anything. The shoe is very popular. You can also use a watch, a horse, a lily, you name it.

[Proper name] Elm is a bit trite but don’t let that stop you. Apparently if you get too creative with this name you freak people out and lose viewers. (“Elm Street? Wait a second. We have an Elm Street in our town! I must watch this movie!”) Better to go for the lowest common denominator, the most common name possible. Like…Elm.

[Place type] Square is the most common. Everybody loves squares, they have that classy European touch. But streets, circles, courts, boulevards will do in a pinch.

Sample names:

The Red Shoe of Elm Square
The Black Watch of Mulberry Court
The Pink Slippers of Broadway Boulevard

Plot:

A single mom (always beautiful, accomplished, honest, reliable — in short, perfect) with an adorable child (with a propensity for saying cute things at just the right moment) has given up on love. She lives or works in the vicinity of [proper name][place type]. In the first act, she goes out on several dates with sincere but ultimately flawed men. This series of dates may be done in a musical montage.

In the second act, a man (handsome and wealthy — we don’t love him because he’s wealthy but we don’t mind either — in short, he’s also perfect) enters her life. Despite the fact that they are clearly meant for each other, she pushes him away. She won’t let herself get too close.

In the third act, with the skillful use of the [color][item], he wins her over and teaches her to love again. Incidentally, he and her kid get along fabulously.

All this happens just in time for Christmas! And…curtain.