Daily Archives: March 24, 2011

The Liz Taylor obit writer who died first. The steroids test that saved a life. And Joe Poz on inspiration

The great Elizabeth Taylor died Wednesday, and it’s truly a great loss for society. She did so much good in her life, for charity, for AIDS research, and shoot, she was Michael Jackson’s good friend, so that alone should get her into heaven.
But what cracked me up Wednesday was this revelation. A dirty little secret of newspaper journalism is that the obituaries of major celebrities are always pre-written. Whenever a major star is getting up in years, somebody at the New York Times, Associated Press, Washington Post, etc. writes an obit for them, so that when the celeb dies, the newspaper is ready to print it immediately.
Well, the New York Times obit of Liz Taylor that ran on its website Wednesday was written by a man named Mel Gussow.

Mel Gussow died in 2005.

So Elizabeth Taylor outlived her obituary writer. That, my friends, is an accomplishment!
I’m guessing he won’t be phoning in any additional quotes for his story.

**My friend Andrew pointed me to this incredible story, which I’m surprised hasn’t gotten more national attention.
With the Barry Bonds trial going on this week (and I could not care less about it), figured a rare “positive” steroids story would make more news. New York Mets minor leaguer Emmanuel Garcia was told he had failed a drug test last June, because his random test contained high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, which is illicitly used after an anabolic steroid cycle to jump-start the body’s production of testosterone.
Garcia swore he was innocent. Said he’d just been working out, that’s all. Garcia was examined by a Mets team doctor, who discovered a tiny tumor on his testicles, which was the reason for the high gonadotropin level. Garcia had testicular cancer; he had never used steroids. After undergoing treatment, he’s now been cancer free for six months, according to this remarkable story on ESPNNewYork.com.
So many things at play here possibly saved Garcia’s life: The fact that he happened to be randomly tested. The fact that he saw a doctor who discovered his cancer at a very early stage.
If Garcia doesn’t get tested for steroids, maybe the cancer spreads, and by the time he realizes he’s sick, it’s too late.
Garcia is probably the happiest guy who ever tested positive for steroids you’d ever meet.
Amazing what unintended consequences can result sometimes, isn’t it?

**Finally today, the writing God that is Joe Posnanski has absolutely nailed another story. He wrote a blog post past this week, ostensibly about former Olympic wrestler and current “The Biggest Loser” contestant Rulon Gardner. But really, it’s about life, and about being inspired.
It’s an absolutely beautiful piece, and I guarantee you’ll be smiling by the end of it.
And who couldn’t use an extra smile?