on a literal odyssey
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to meet Bill Cosby.
No joke. I wrote it down in January, it’s on the list right after hike the Grand Canyon (both ways), run a marathon, and refinish the dining table.
My wife and I are planning on hiking the Grand Canyon in August, I signed up for the San Francisco marathon in July and I refinished the dining table as a wedding gift to Kim in April.
But how can I meet Bill Cosby? It’s not really something that I can do on my own. He has to be around.
You see, Bill Cosby has always been a personal hero of mine. When I was a kid up in Anchorage, Alaska, my family and I would always watch ”The Cosby Show.” And I loved it! I wanted to be a father and husband like Bill’s character, Dr. Huxtable. His love of food, fun, jazz, his kids, and his wife made the show just so rich and wholesome. Bill Cosby is well deserving of the title: America’s favorite dad.
Almost two decades later, I was twenty-two and teaching in Moscow, Russia. It was Civil Rights Day and I thought I’d do something a little different.
I selected one of my favorite scenes from “The Cosby Show” and picked out a few of the English words that I knew my students didn’t understand. After a half hour of reviewing these terms I began speaking to them about Martin Luther King Jr., and African American heritage.
“Have any of you heard of Bill Cosby?” I asked a class full of Russian adults. They started up at me blankly and shook their heads.
I grinned. Perfect.
I then pressed play:
Now, you must understand that it is very difficult to get a Russian to smile and laugh in public. But they were literally clutching their sides because of how hard they were laughing in my class.
Bill Cosby is my hero not because he’s a comedian, or because he was the star of a hit show, or because he’s listed as one of the most influential Americans of all time (because he’s all of those things).
Bill Cosby is my hero because he consistently focuses on the positive.
His shows were funny and uplifting, and rarely focused on divisive issues like class warfare, politics, race, or controversial themes.
His standup routines were clean and almost all based on the family and the joys and struggles of parenthood.
His life’s work has been to help others and his PSAs on drug prevention and his work with various charities has helped countless millions.
And in his personal life, he has overcome many personal challenges and obstacles.
That’s the message that I shared with my Russian students. One of the many triumphs of the Civil Rights Movement has been people like Bill Cosby. People who make the world a better place because of “the content of their character.”
So yes, I hope to meet him someday.
AAAAAAAANNNNNDDDD, I just found out that the University that I graduated from (BYU Idaho) is hosting him on June 6-8. Great! I graduated a year ago when there was nothing to do there and now you decide to show up, Bill?!
I’m going to try to get tickets when they go on sale next week. But I’m not too optimistic about getting them (I’m no longer a student). So what would not getting those tickets mean for my New Year’s Resolution?
It would mean that the ball is in your court, Dr. Huxtable.