Fine, not really. I mean, I’m a woman and I’m not a fictional character on a TV show. But if you stick with me, the title will make sense.
Last week, I wrote about how I think Southland’s Lydia Adams is a fantastic role model and a strong female character that television desperately needs. In a completely different take, I’m now focusing on John Cooper, played by Michael Cudlitz. I love Cooper for so many reasons; he’s probably my favorite character on the show. He’s so complicated yet so simple at the same time which makes him fascinating to watch (plus, Michael Cudlitz was on Prison Break and LOST for a couple of episode so I like him no matter what).
The more I think about Cooper the more I can see myself. More specifically, there are a lot of parallels between Cooper and the way I’ve managed myself and my finances. Here are a few:
He tried to hide his problems until he couldn’t hide them anymore. For much of the first three seasons, Cooper battled with a pretty serious addiction to painkillers. Although those close to him knew that something was wrong, he would get defensive whenever they approached him about it. But he never told anyone about it until he absolutely had to. I did the same thing with my debt. People close to me knew that my husband and I were having trouble but I didn’t want to talk about it. I tried to pretend everything was fine and normal. Until, one day, it just got to be too much. I couldn’t hide our debt any longer. Although no one knew the extent of the damage, there came a point where family and friends we no longer had disposable income to fritter away. It was all going towards getting out from under our crushing debt.
He excels at his job. When it all boils down to it, painkiller addiction or not, Cooper is an outstanding cop. He knows his job inside and out and he’s good at it. And, as a training officer, he uses his knowledge and authority to train future officers to be equally as good. That’s kind of what I’m doing with this site. I know I’m not excellent at finances but I’m excellent at making mistakes. By sharing what I’ve done wrong, I’m teaching others not to do the same. I want people to benefit from my experience and knowledge so they never, ever wind up like me. Whatever I’ve done in the past, I want them to do the exact opposite. That is how I can encourage people to be financially successful.
He’s not afraid of conflict. Yet when it comes to showing a united front, he goes for it. This past season, there was a significant conflict between Cooper and his partner, Jessica Tang that developed as the result of her shooting an unarmed child (it was an accident). She did it and covered it up. Cooper knew it but when he was called in to testify in front of Internal Affairs, he didn’t give her up although he did confront Tang about it. This is similar to how my husband and I manage our finances. Although we don’t fight about money anymore, we used to. A lot. But we never discussed the intricacies of our finances with anyone except each other. And no matter how hard some people tried to get us to break that alliance, we never wavered.
His childhood shaped his beliefs. Although Cooper’s childhood and background aren’t discussed in great detail, we do know that his father killed his childhood girlfriend and he took the job because of the salary. Those details are enough to know why he acts the way he does sometimes, and why he’s pretty merciless with many of the criminals he encounters. Like Cooper, my childhood definitely had an impact on me. What I was taught about money (or not taught about money) growing up has influenced the way I handle my finances now and why I’m so determined to break the cycle for my daughter.
Also, another similarity? Michael Cudlitz is from Long Island. So am I.
Crazy, isn’t it?
For more Southland finances, head on over to Pinch That Penny where Bryan talks about Sammy Bryant (played by Shawn Hatosy).