1. Join the US Marines; get posted to Afghanistan.
2. Drive your Humvee over a IED. Get your jaw broken in four places, your arm torn to shreds and your right leg blown off at the knee.
3. Spend 47 days in a coma, and seventeen months in hospital recovering.
4. Descend into alcoholism and deep depression. Get three DUIs in a month.
5. Sober up, join a gym, get noticed by a photographer… and find yourself famous!
That's what happened to Alex Minsky. Go on, Google him. The tag line on his web page is "When one door closes, another opens." He would like to use his story to give other people hope.
But it's not the fact that he is a good looking and photogenic young man, with the body art that seems to be essential fashion-wear these days that has allowed him to become famous. Oh, and if you haven't heard of him, it's probably because you're in the UK, or don't make a habit of watching male underwear ads. Apparently the reason why everyone wants to work with Alex Minsky is that he's fun, he's not a prima donna and he doesn't make a big thing about the leg.
He recently posted on his Facebook page, next to a photo of a sign saying "PLEASE – No acting!" "I love this. A sign posted up in a workshop I attend which reminds me that it's not about acting or pretending or being something I never was. It's about being MYSELF. Always. Using my own experiences to overcome obstacles"
So everyone in California loves Alex Minsky. It seems as if even Alex Minsky loves Alex Minsky, which is just as well.
Now, that is.
When he was drunk every day of the week and deeply depressed I guess his mother still loved him, but the world didn't and couldn't; he wasn't engaging with the world.
I have no idea how hard it is to come back from alcoholism. I know it's pretty tough coming back from depression, to choose every day to engage as much as you can – which some days is not at all.
But people like Alex show us that there is an alternative to despair. I don't think that I will ever become a famous underwear model (definitely just as well), but I like to think that a few of you enjoy these blogs, that a few more will enjoy my novel (and the future ones) when they're published. That's the result of my choice to engage with the world, even when it's the hardest thing in the world to get out of bed, come downstairs and apply fingers to keyboard.
Alex has a tattoo at the base of his abdomen. It says "DON'T LAUGH" and you can't help but giggle at that, can you?
And if you're giggling, it's hard to despair.
A Moodscope member.