"What is Your Love Strategy?" A Day with Patch Adams

By Charlie Cantrell

Yesterday, I met a man who is changing the world. Dr. Patch Adams. You know, the Doc, Robin Williams played in the movie. The guy is off the charts plugged in! If you ever get a chance to attend one of his workshops, run, don’t walk to get there. If you are familiar with his story, you will know that he was a renegade med student and after becoming a licensed physician he vowed to begin his own hospital where no one would ever have to pay for care. He believes that medical care should be free as a service to humanity. He began his work immediately upon becoming a physician by inviting patients into his home. For twelve years he lived in six bed room home with his wife and two children along with four other physicians………oh yes and from as many as fifty patients, homeless people and other assorted needy folks a night. He never turned anyone away and never charged a penny for care during these years. He treated tens of thousands of patients out of service and love with nothing asked in return. He never has taken medical insurance or carried malpractice insurance because he does not believe in the oppressive nature of insurance. It is built on mistrust and fear. The opposite of what he gives, love and care. He has never be sued. Patch was raised by his mother, a school teacher. A woman he says he never once heard raise her voice, or get angry and anything or anyone, ever. He said he never heard her ever say a bad word about anyone, belittle anyone or pass judgment on anyone. Ever. His father was killed in the military when he was six. He loathes the concept of military and war and says he will not rest until no one on this planet can remember what the word war means. The day he looks forward to is the day when people will have to go to the archives to look up the word war and the definition will be something like this…. War is where rich people of one country send their poor people to murder the poor people of another country and the rich people of the winning country gets to keep the loot of the losing country. Be it noted that only countries who were larger and more powerful would start a war. In order to win a war the larger country had to insure that they would win prior to starting a war. Patch claims that he has never been violent toward another person in his entire life and never will. This is why he is a clown. Clowns can move mountains through love and humor. He only dresses in clown clothes and has most of his life. He sleeps only three hours a day and is traveling around the world to war zones, disaster areas, and refugee camps, 300 days a year. He does not own a computer. Nor has he ever used one. He receives from 500 –600 letters a month, and answers every letter he has ever received…….by hand. He answers every letter by longhand. He averages three hours out of every day writing letters.

Patch has read thousands of books. Has a personal library of over 14,000 books and none are written by current day pulp authors. He has a passion for poetry and has memorized over four hours of prose in honor of the love of his life Susan. A concert pianist and world changing activist in her own right.

When patch was 18 years old he was in a mental ward for the third time in his young life for attempting to take his own life. He had a life altering experience where he made the decision to never have a bad day the rest of his life. Forty two years later he has lived that decision. According to Patch he indeed has never had a bad day since. He believes we choose our own existence and we can choose to not have a bad day. Ever.

Patch believes that Capitalism and greed is what is truly ruining the word. That there are no more countries, only multi-national corporations hell bent on owning everything, including water. That this system has destroyed health care. That physicians and health care workers should choose to go into their professions for love of humanity and service, not money. He has a list of physicians who wish to work in his new hospital when it is complete. They will be paid $300 a month. Some of the physicians are currently earning over a million dollars a year. A million dollars a year, yet they are lined up to work with Patch for $300 a month? You go figure. I have.

Patch owns no real estate, has no health or life insurance, earns over a million a year from his lectures, books, etc. He lives in an apartment. He puts all his earnings toward helping others. He has a contingency of clowns that he takes with him to horrible places to help heal. I saw a clip last night from some video that was taken in Afghanistan where Patch and his clowns were in a hospital working with children. Most of whom were dying due to war wounds. It was the most heartbreaking thing I have ever seen. NO medicine, no food. Just concrete and crying. Mothers holding their children in helplessness as they died in their arms of missing limbs, burns and starvation. You should have seen their eyes. One scene showed the most beautiful little girl, naked on a filthy metal table slithering around in her own blood, most of her skin burnt to a crisp as her mother held her down while others cut her skin off with scissors. One chunk at a time. One scream at a time. One tear at a time. The scene lasted for ever as a clown played a violin, the only pain killer available. This is the reality of war. This is what we as Americans are doing to children in the name of “The War on Terrorism”. Over fifty thousand children. Beautiful, loving, innocent children have died at the hands of American terror in Iraq since our invasion. What in the hell are we doing?

Added note. Directly across from the hospital where the children were dying of starvation, sat huge storage facilities of food and medical supplies for American soldiers. NONE of it has ever made it to the hospital across the road. NONE!

Patch Adams talk eloquently about our current Whitehouse administration. He said “George Bush is worse than Hitler”. Wow. Now that is a statement. He also said it is a travesty that the richest three men in the world hold more wealth than 48 of the poorest nations on earth combined. That we have more food on this planet than can easily feed everyone. That greed is what is starving others. That a child dies of thirst……yes thirst!…..every 8 seconds. What in the hell are we doing? That there are more obese Americans per capita than any other country on the planet. That Americans wear enough fat to feed the planet!

The four hour workshop that I attended in Surrey with Patch was attended by fifty very privileged people. I was fortunate to there. Out of fifty people. Two were men, I was one, the other was Charles Woodfield. Patch made note of the fact that there were only two of us there. That if it had been a workshop on finance and building a portfolio, the gender ratio would have been reversed. He stressed the fact that women are the worlds salvation. They are the one’s you see serving in refugee camps, war hospitals, nursing homes, etc. They are the ones with love and caring, and empathy in their hearts. It would serve men well to have the goal to become good women. Not in a sexual sense, but in a loving sense. We as men have been conditioned in America to kill, conquer and control. It is time we love.

Patch feels it is a travesty that the most important people in our society, teachers, are so underpaid that sixty percent of them can’t afford to feed their families on their income. That grown men sit around on Sundays in front of television and ignore their wives and children to watch a bunch of narcissistic millionaires “play with their balls”. He believes professional sports is a travesty when people are dying of starvation. He does not watch television and believes that it is slowly killing our ability to think. He says the reason he has a “brain” is because he uses it and does not become brain dead watching television.

Patch Adams, a renegade, political, activist, physician, clown, visionary. Strong, powerful, loving, caring, dedicated, man.

From his own words…..”Jesus, Buddha, Mohammad. It is so rare that a man walks in the world with love in his heart, that people feel compelled to build a religion around them.” Patch claims that he has never ever had one religious thought. That religion is a social institution. He merely loves and cares about people. That it is not about worshiping a deity. It is about loving. What is God, but love?

Patch is doing his part to change the world. The world he envisions is the world where a woman can walk down any dark alley in any place in the world at 3 in the morning and never once feel fear. Wow! That is his vision. That is what he is working for.

Patch is passionate about children. The child sex industry generates over fifteen billion dollars a year. It is not unusual for child of five to be sold into sex slavery and be used eighteen times (average) a day until they are used up….(as Patch so eloquently states it). Fifteen Billion…….and most of this is generated at the hands of perverted Americans. What in the hell are we doing?

Warner Brothers took his life story a few years back and made a movie of it. Patch talked about the experience and how he wept when he read the scripts prior to shooting. They made his story into a comedy and left out all his humanitarianism. He made them rewrite the script to come closer to truth. They still fell way short in his opinion. But he understood that humanitarianism would not sell tickets. He was promised by Warner Brothers that they would give fund his hospital after the films release. To this day, Patch has not received one cent from the proceeds of his life story. The film grossed over four hundred million dollars! What in the hell are we doing?

Patch has a very difficult time getting airtime for television, newspaper, and magazine interviews. It is hard to get the hand to feed you when you are biting it! He refuses to sell out and shut up to get ink and airtime. What does this tell you about our media. He receives death threats every day. Some from Christians. Can you imagine such a thing?

Patch is astounded that in thirteen years of schooling here in America. There is not a single course dedicated to teaching us how to love one another. We can join the military and learn a thousand ways to kill, but there is no equivalent to teach us how to love. Learn how to kill, and your college education will be paid for.

You can learn more about Patch and his work at……patchadams.org.

You can go with him on one of his missions as a clown. No one is turned down.

Patch has given me a thing or two to ponder. Such as….what in the hell am I doing?

For more inforamtion about Patch Adams, visit http://www.patchadams.org
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