In 1983, I worked at Engineered Systems, Inc. in Tempe, Arizona as a programmer. I often stayed late, working on the shop floor programming petroleum distribution systems. There were always techs around, at workbenches, assembling electronic components. As I would walk by, I’d see them watching sitcoms during breaks. At that age, I literally didn’t watch TV at all, save perhaps 60 Minutes on Sunday night. So I had never seen Family Ties until I saw it on the shop floor. But I remember getting drawn in when I stopped to watch a minute or two, and Alex Keaton was the one to pull me in.
That’s when I first heard about Michael J. Fox.
Over the years, being a time-travel buff, of course I watched the “Back to the Future” movies, and I still enjoy those to this day.
When I heard about his diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, I remember being sad for him. Eventually he faded from the limelight, as you would expect. I picked up this book because it seemed to me I was feeling sorry for myself one too many times, and I needed a pick-me-up. That’s exactly what I got.
In Always Looking Up, Fox tells about his humble beginnings in Canada, growing up in a military family of little means. He talks about his family, his own family, as well as his parents and siblings, always through enjoyable anecdotes and side plots. He outlines his relationship with Christopher Reeve and other activists, and he tells us about his political activism in favor of stem cell research.
There are many aspects of Fox that I knew nothing about, and now I feel like I do. Fox is a great writer, and he tells his story with nonchalant humor and inspiring optimism. I got to know him better than I ever did through all the TV and movies, and I must say I like the man. If I were to run into him on the street, we’d get along fine. He is a talented man with an indomitable spirit. I was inspired.