The Law Office of Paul Black - June 2020


June 2020

What’s Your ‘Cinderella Man’ Story? THE NEED FOR MILK

In a crowded room, cameras and reporters surround American boxer James J. Braddock, who is about to fight against a world-class opponent Max Baer, who has killed two people in the ring. When reporters point out Braddock’s injuries and ask about his latest comeback to boxing, the boxer says, “This time around, I know what I’m fighting for.” “What’s that, Jimmy?” the reporter asks. Braddock replies, “Milk.” This is a scene in Ron Howard’s “Cinderella Man,” a biographical sports drama released in 2005 and one of the penultimate American Dream movies of the decade. Howard truly captures the stark contrast of despair and hope during the Great Depression when the future seemed bleak for many. The movie provides vast emotional context: No matter how wealthy or respected somebody seemed, the economic collapse tore everybody down. Perhaps this is why fewer stories during the Great Depression are as moving and inspiring as Braddock’s. Braddock had already been in car accidents and had broken his hand more than once by the time of his comeback in the ring. But the biggest challenge wasn’t boxing or the

Great Depression; it was dealing with both at the same time. Despite the rampant alcoholism, violence, and despair all around him, Braddock was resolute and maintained strong integrity through it all. When he couldn’t box after breaking his hand, he tirelessly worked three shifts at the docks, yet he still struggled to pay for heat and feed his kids. His drive to pay for essential staples, like milk, drove him toward boxing against world champions, even if it was life-threatening. I’ve been thinking about this movie a lot lately. We’re not hurting for food or trying to pay for heat like Braddock was, but with our current national crisis at hand, Braddock’s victories really are truly timeless. I’ve pulled my father out of assisted living so we can care for him at home. As newlyweds, we’ve faced challenges, but these also made us realize how important family is. One night, my father, wife, and I watched “Cinderella Man” together, and we all found it very powerful. As important as it is to stay aware of national developments, the news can be overwhelming. That’s why I check the news first thing in the morning and right before bed, but never in-between.

Like Braddock does in “Cinderella Man,” it’s important to remember what’s really worth fighting for. His response, “milk,” didn’t represent simply a fridge staple; it represented Braddock’s ability to feed his kids and achieve normalcy for the people he loved and cared for most. Right now, everybody needs milk. Normalcy is out the window, but the American Dream and ideology isn’t based on success only when society is doing well. It’s based on having a work ethic and the moral dignity to succeed beyond what anyone expects. No matter how difficult this test might be for us, our families are important. Many of us have looked out for each other: whether it’s through making masks, giving hand sanitizers to health care providers, buying groceries for neighbors, or donating to food banks. Let’s keep it up. And watch “Cinderella Man” if you have the chance. It’s a beautiful movie that’ll sit right in the hearts of millions right now. At least, I know it did for us. From all of us in my

family and in my practice, we hope you and yours stay healthy and safe out there.

-Paul Black

Do you have estate planning or elder law-related questions? Write to me at with “Asked and Answered” in the subject line. Your identity will be kept confidential. The opinions offered in this column are not intended to replace or substitute any financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. | 1

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