May 13, 2013

Out Of the Box: Introduction

When Josiah was a little guy, preschool television had not completely exploded into the mega-billion dollar industry it is now.  There had been some major hits like Bob the Builder, Blue's Clues, and Barney.  But there also was a lot of stuff that fell into two major categories: Canadian Kids Television and Crap.  Nickelodeon had not launched Noggin (which later became Nick Junior).  Disney had not come up with Preschool Disney.  Entities like Baby Einstein and The Wiggles were just coming onto the scene. So for those early morning hours after the big kids went to school and before preschools got out, these stations tried to fill the hours with shows they purchased from other groups.  That is where Canadian Kids Television came into play.  For some reason, there was more groups in the Great White North that funded kids tv.  So they had developed more shows.  It was always amusing to hear all of these shows with their Canuck accents and our children learning words, sounding like young hockey players.  (The same thing happened with The Wiggles, except with all of our kids sounding like extras on Crocodile Dundee.)  Disney and Nick snapped up rebroadcast rights to these shows and filled their lineup (PB&J Otter, Franklin, Little Bear).  Unfortunately, they also purchased a lot of shows that fell into the Crap pile.  Sometimes these were also Canadian shows, but more like Quebec (technically, it is Canadian, but they like to remind us that - like a divorced couple - that province has TWO parents and one is France.)  This explained shows like Doodlebops, because there really wasn't any other possible explanation for that monstrosity.

Before long, Disney and Nick realized that creating their own shows was far more profitable than buying existing shows.  So they slowly replaced all of the imports and created their own shows with infinite merchandising rights.  Brilliant financial move.  But for anyone who had children in the first few years of the new millenium, we will always remember those other shows.  One such shows that landed squarely in the Crap pile was Out of the Box.  It was so dumb.  Absolutely ridiculous.  They had the "clubhouse" like Barney.  They had the two super-earnest hosts like Blues Clues.  And they had, well, not much else.  Oh, wait, they also had this horrible theme song set off by terrible puns.

Whenever I hear the phrase "out of the box," this is what pops to mind.  It has made me hate the phrase even more than most people who are encouraged to think outside of the box.  This past Sunday, we had a guest preacher at Summit Church.  He talked about living outside of our box.  I held in my usual aversion to that line to listen.  He was talking about how we can have extremely busy lives and still be unbelievably bored.  We get into a monotonous routine and get stuck in a rut.  As a result, we start to make choices that are easy and comfortable to stay in our box.  He challenged the church to start to be willing to move out of their box (or comfort zone or hedgehog or whatever catch phrase you happen to embrace).

I looked at Heather and we both said the same thing.  We already got out of our box.  Back in February, when we had to turn in our Match List for Match Day, we knew we faced a tough decision.  There was Orlando - the place we called home and loved dearly and had lived the majority of our married lives together.  It had our church, our friends, our kids' schools.  It was close to both of our parents.  It had doctors that Heather had spent two years with and residents who were wanting her to work with them.  Then there was Columbia.  On the surface, there was no reason to pick Columbia.  I had been there three times - once in high school for a yearbook conference, once to take the kids to the children's museum while visiting family in Rock Hill, and once for a wedding.  It was the place we turned North when traveling to Rock Hill.  It had Steve Spurrier and team fans who found it hilarious to only use part of their mascot name to sound obscene.  But we had this gut feeling we were supposed to go there.  Heather's interview there had been amazing.  She felt drawn there and felt like they wanted her.  I really only had her word to go on.  But we both were willing to make the jump.  So we listed it first and ended up matching there.  In that moment, we were out of the box.  If we had stayed in Orlando, that would have been the easy and comfortable and rut-increasing choice.  Leaving for Columbia was the right choice.

We will be leaving in just a few weeks.  In the words of Ron Burgundy, I am a swirling ball of emotions as we prepare to go.  Normally, my response is to blog about stuff like this.  For some reason, I have hesitated to do that this time.  But I feel that I would be robbing myself of a positive outlet for me to think through this process.  And I feel that I would be robbing others from knowing the impact they made on my life.  Between now and our move in June, I plan on writing a good number of posts that will be in the "Out of the Box" series.  Some of them will be looking back at the last four years of medical school.  Some of them will be looking ahead.  And a great majority of them will be trying to explain why I have grown to call a tourist trap my home.  Instead of listing all the things I will miss about Orlando, I will write about the things I am thankful that I got to experience in Orlando.  Some of you may find yourself splayed across this site in those articles.  For that, I apologize in advance.  Some of you will not.  For that, I apologize in advance.  I know that this is the Internet we are talking about - the haven of the disgruntled, wronged and cynical.  But if I don't include you in a post and you felt that I should have, please do not take offense.  I mean no slight.  After thirteen years of living in the City Moderately Beautiful, I have to trim things down.  And if it really bothers you, let me know and I'll write something special just for you.

The first in this series (well, actually the second, since this technically is the first - although this is more of a prologue or forward and shouldn't count towards pagination) will look back at Florida State University's College of Medicine.  It will post sooner than you think.  I hope you will join me on my journey of self-reflection as we move out of our box.  Out of the box. OUT of the box.  Take one box...

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