Thursday, January 13, 2011

11 Ways to Live Like Doctor Who

At 10:35 am on Sunday, January 2, I accepted Matt Smith into my heart.

I’d been resisting. I shuddered at his horrible Flock of Seagulls hair in the initial publicity photos. I shook my head at his age – damned kids! I frowned at his post-regeneration “Geronimo!” I kept myself emotionally distant from the entire run of his episodes, dismissing him as too goofy, too young, too something to really be The Doctor, the character I’d been watching since Pertwee.

I had hardened my heart against him.

And then, that fateful Sunday morning, as I dressed for church, I made a decision. I would put on a bow tie.

I’m not really a bow tie guy, even though I have an honest-to-goodness tie-it-from-scratch bow tie. I hadn’t worn it in years, but that morning I decided I would put it on, along with, yes, my tweed jacket. In short, I decided to dress like Matt Smith.

I don’t usually dress up like anyone in particular. Sure, I own a long Tom Baker-esque scarf. And I searched for glasses frames that were as much like David Tennant’s as possible, and now wear them every day. But otherwise, I keep my Star Trek insignia in my dresser drawer, my Indiana Jones fedora on the closet shelf and my Timothy Dalton-as-James-Bond leather jacket—oh, wait, I guess I do wear that one fairly often.
But I don’t often dress like Doctor Who.

Yet that Sunday I quite intentionally Matt Smith-ed myself. And as I did it, as I fumbled with and (with my wife’s intervention) finally tied that bow tie, I realized that I was looking forward to the next series. That I had accepted Matt Smith into full Doctorhood.

And it put a smile on my face. I looked at the bow tie and glasses look I’d affected, my own Tennant-Smith hybrid, and I began thinking about the Doctor, about all the wonderful blog posts I’d been reading at Tor.com. And I realized that more than just accepting Matt Smith in the role, I could go a step further. I could welcome the Doctor himself into my heart.

It’s a New Year, a time for (I have to say it) regeneration. And why not take to heart some of the lessons I’ve learned from the Doctor over these many decades. Why not try to be a little bit more like him—each one of him, in fact…

1.     Take action. The Doctor stole a TARDIS and went gallivanting around the cosmos. He landed on Skaro with his first companions – who promptly wanted to leave – so he sabotaged his own ship to give them a reason to hang out and explore. When he finds something evil, someone doing harm, he takes action. He doesn’t let tradition or overwhelming odds deter him. He does what he thinks is right.

2.     Be playful.  Play a musical instrument. The Doctor toodles on a recorder from time to time. And never underestimate the power of humor. He’s as quick with a joke as he is with the answer to a complex calculation. And just when you dismiss him as a meddling fool, he shows his true colors.
3.     Ask questions. Don’t blindly accept authority, especially authority figures. The Doctor rushes in to find out what’s really going on behind strange, seemingly impossible projects, to find out how things really work. He recognizes pseudo-science and does his best to expose the truth and help people choose the right path. And he only resorts to violence when absolutely necessary – and when he does so, it’s Venusian Aikido! Hiiii-Yah! Oh, wait I seem to have moved away from the idea of asking questions…
4.     Smile. Before the new series, the image most folks had of Doctor Who was the smiling man with the floppy hat and long scarf. And for good reason. This was a Doctor who disarmed folks with his good cheer. He confounds foes by offering them candy. He’s charming and brilliant and, for many people, he still is The Doctor.
5.     Feel compassion. The fifth Doctor brought with him a deep sense of feeling, of compassion for both his companions and everyone he encountered. He made the ultimate sacrifice for a companion he’d only known for one adventure (unless, of course, you count the many stories that Big Finish inserted into the gap between those two episodes).
6.     Wear whatever you want. Say what you want about the sixth Doctor’s horrible jacket, but it once again shows that fashion, for the Doctor, is whatever you make of it. Fortunately, you don’t ALWAYS have to dress in such an outrageous way, but it’s okay if you do so. Once in a while.
7.     Observe. The Doctor always knows what’s going on. No matter what he might seem to be doing at any given moment, he’s always keenly aware of his situation and surroundings. He makes connections. He looks for patterns. He connects the dots.
8.     Embrace change. Whether it’s an unexpected regeneration or an unexpected revelation, the Doctor doesn’t hesitate to accept changing circumstances. Wake up in a morgue? No problem. Just find a new set of clothes and go on with your day. And go ahead and kiss the girl. It’s okay.
9.     Know when to say No. Sometimes you have to put your foot down. Say “no” to unreasonable demands. Even if it seems like the odds are stacked against you and giving in is your only course of action, don’t be afraid to say “no.”
10. Dive into the unknown. Unable to predict the outcome of a certain choice? Don’t worry about it. Just go ahead and jump in. Strange new world ahead? Find out what it’s all about. Take that other road, make that left turn. See what’s out there. You never know what you might discover.

11. Be positive. There’s almost no situation that can bring the Doctor down. He always looks for the bright side. He’s optimistic even when it seems idiotic to be so. He sees the potential in everything and everyone. He doesn’t worry about what others think, because he knows in his hearts that bow ties are cool.


Need more advice on how to live life? Why not try to live more like Spock...

15 comments:

Toni said...

I love it!! Thanks for my birthday Doctor Who post. Of course, you had no idea you were celebrating my birthday, but you were.

I've been watching through all the new series eps getting ready for this new season and I've even watched some of the classic eps, as well.

You've gotta love The Doctor, no matter who he is, or how he's dressed.

Viv said...

I think my favourite after the Tom Baker version is a toss up between Tennant and his predecessor.
I can't quite get my head round the new one and found the Christmas one disappointing.
But I played DrWho as a kid with my brother(he always got to be the dr) and it's a series I have always loved.
good break down of the themes.
x

Schmool said...

I meet each new Doctor with some resistance. Tom Baker will alway hold that special top spot in my heart, but Eccelston, Tennant & Smith each broke down the barriers and won my heart. Personally, I thought the Christmas special was wonderful; dark, magical and hopeful. The world would be a better place if there were more people like the Doctor :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you've just described an ENFP.

allanmayer said...

Excellent post. It's not just a T.V. programme- it's a way of life. For some reason that didn't go down very well when I said it at the vicarage tea party, but each to his own.

strugglingwriter said...

Great post indeed!

Kristen said...

Someone who knows my deep love of Doctor Who, sent this to me on Twitter. It is lovely and apt. Since you're ready to dive into the new series, may I offer my own thoughts on Matt Smith: http://geekgirlsnetwork.com/blog/2010/12/doctor-who-the-case-for-eleven/

My personal mantra, is, "What would the Doctor do?" I've found that it works mostly pretty well for me. Also - Bow Ties are cool. :)

Matthew The Astrologer said...

Read it, love it, re-ported it to Facebook. Long Live The Doctor!

The Crazy Purple Wombat said...

Neil! Thank you! I love your insight & your celebration of The Doctor! I, too, have watched since Jon Pertwee & I love & celebrate every nuance of character each new actor has brought to the character! You make me feel so lucky to be someone who can follow every bit of your blog post! Enjoy the new series! I know I will!

That Neil Guy said...

Thanks for all your wonderful comments!

Wordy and wandering said...

Lurking for awhile, but I must admit it's been great to have the Doctor (through BBC on cable), back in my life....

Monica Marier said...

The Apocryphal 8th doctor was my first. I'm glad you included him. I enjoyed this list immensely and the advice is great too. And I'm with you with the "that's not MY doctor" syndrome that seems to happen with every regeneration. Happy New Year (Molto Bene!)

Elaine Corvidae said...

Fantastic run-down of all the Doctor's many admirable qualities. I first stumbled onto Tom Baker reruns in the mid-80s on my local PBS station. Up until now, he's always been "my" Doctor, even though I loved all the rest. But Matt Smith won me over to the point where, after a quarter century of loyalty, I must admit that I have a new favorite. Something about his goofy charm, quirky looks, and sheer exuberance just embodies everything that the Doctor symbolizes to me.

Jill said...

Been a DW fan since the early 80s. What a great post.

Doctors Panama City said...

Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual. Doctors Panama City