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Doctor Who...where do I begin? Today the 50th Anniversary Special airs, and I wanted to write a more complete blog post on what I think about the show in general, but my leg has decided not to cooperate with me. Alas, I am no Time Lord and cannot simply regenerate to remove the pain the surgery two years past has brought on. That said, the Doctor has been in my life since a very young man. My second cousin Wilson (my biological father's aunt's son - oy, that's a mouthful) went to work in London when I was five our six. We'd not been especially close until he came back from London to vacation with his mother and father, and I happened to be visiting them at the time. He was standoffish at first, but when he realized I was not like most children my age (I was quite precocious), he engaged me in conversation, and I proved to (mostly) keep up. He told me about his work (he's a fashion designer) and was surprised to find that I actually knew mostly what he was speaking off (thanks to my Aunt, the interior decorator). He was nearly twenty years older than me, but for that one Spring Break, we became the best of friends. I remember asking him to tell me a story one night before bed, and he recounted (in full) the Fourth Doctor's adventures in The Pyramids of Mars. Wilson may have been decent as a clothing designer, but he missed his calling in life: the man was a born storyteller and raconteur. I'd learn later that he mimicked the voices near perfectly. He terrified me with Sutehk and his robot mummies, amazed me with the cunning of the doctor, and made me cheer for Sarah Jane. He did the same thing the next few nights, and I cried for hours when he told me he was leaving again. He told me he'd write me, and he did for many years, but the thing he did that I've always loved him for is he recorded reruns of Doctor Who on VHS tapes and sent them to me every few weeks. I'd binge watching them and then hungrily wait for more. It was only until after his mother died that he stopped - I've not heard from him since, I guess I was a reminder he didn't want. I don't blame him. I hear he is doing quite well for himself, and that makes me happy. The wonder of the Doctor stayed with me for many years, but like all things in your childhood - they dim as you grow older. I couldn't find a way to get a hold of new episodes, so I watched the ones I had less and less. Eventually, I forgot about the Doctor.

          Then, in late 2008, I heard about the new series and gave it a whirl. Eccleston as the ninth Doctor was amazing. He was brooding and angry, and every bit the hero - but he was also a bad ass. I was extremely disappointed to learn he was only the Doctor for one season. Then came Tennant as (funnily enough) the Tenth, and he was just as awesome and delivered perhaps one of my favorite lines the Doctor has ever uttered "No more second chances. I'm that sort of man." That set the tone of his tenure as the Doctor and I loved it so much. It was amazing. But then he had to go...and I found myself openly weeping at the end. I swore I'd stop watching it after that. How unfair for them to cut off so early!  Then came along Smith as the Eleventh, after a single episode I was hooked. Matt Smith is one of the great actors our of time. A true genius in the dramatic arts - he can embody icy rage, sadness, laughter, and nobility all in a single face, wrapped in a package of manic glee. I expect great things from him. And now comes the time where I swear I'll never watch another Doctor Who episode again, and we will all know it's a lie. Because I will.

          The Doctor may be imaginary, but he is a symbol of hope for a generation, several in fact. To me, that is who the Doctor embodies. He is like the tale of Pandora's Box, when she opened it, all the evils spread out into the world, and all that remained inside was hope. If the Doctor embodies hope, then surely the TARDIS is Pandora's Box. He goes through all of time and space to try to correct the wrongs, and make them right. That statement was made all the clearer to me several months back when I was rewatching a couple of episodes of Doctor Who while babysitting a neighbor's kids. K and C are brothers, only a few years apart, and I love those boys as if they were my own. They often come over to my house (though not as much anymore after they moved), and my mother babysits them. Any ways, they asked what I was doing, and I told them I was watching a TV show. So they climbed into my recliner, and I lay on my bed as we watched a few episodes of Season 3 of the 2005 series (The Family of Blood) and then The End Of Time. They loved it. But the youngest, C, was hit hard when Ten "died." I explained to him that the Doctor cannot die, he has too much work to do! That he would only be that way for a little while and would regenerate into someone new, someone we'd love just as much. Which made him ask me a series of questions that I tweeted. Questions which could have only come from the lips of a child.

    Babysitting the neighbors kids while they try to hash out some marital problems. We're watching Doctor Who Season 3. The youngest boy asks..

That must be one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed. To see the impact of something I cherish on another person. The boy's parents have since patched things up and I still get to see them (not as often as I like though) and every week they are "good" in school earns them a new episode of Doctor Who via burned DVD-RW which they return to me with the hopes of getting another. :-) Happy Day of the Doctor everyone!


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C. R. Rice

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