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By Doug Brunell | February 24, 2005

You did not misread the title. Tom Cruise, star of “Legend,” is the hero of the common man. Why? It’s not his ability to make being confined to a wheelchair sexy. It’s not his over-the-top machismo that surfaces every few years. It’s not the Scientology, and nor is it his boyish good looks. It’s a combination of all those things and more.

Tom Cruise gives men and women across the country the strength to go on with their pitiful lives every single day his picture appears in the tabloids. Every time he flashes that patented Crest smile, our lives get a little better. I even believe he can cure cancer just by thinking about it long enough. That’s how much power he has. And how did he get that power? Through sheer force of will. Like Gandhi. Like Jesus. Like Pauly Shore. Tom Cruise is like a natural disaster of goodness, and there is no greater proof of his power than Nicole Kidman.

I’m a happily married man, but I think I speak for other happily married men and many women when I say there are few of us who wouldn’t mind — who may even consider giving up a digit — just to run our tongues through Kidman’s delicate womanly folds. Tom Cruise, while not off on some remote location filming his Next Big Thing, had that opportunity on a regular basis. He had that and turned it away! He. Turned. It. Away.

Think you could be that strong? I don’t think so. Before that incident, the average Joe couldn’t turn away another doughnut, but when Tom and Nicole split, when they separated without all the crying and suicide threats any one of us would make, that’s when things changed.

As the world looked on in horror, Tom got on with his life. Nicole was going on with hers, too, which was easy because she looks like a goddess and carries herself the same way. Tom, however, was Tom and that can only get you so far. Face it, in the war of the sexes, the female was always more powerful … until They broke up.

That split showed the world that Tom was better than us. He could do things we thought weren’t possible. Once we saw him do them, though, we realized that if Tom could divorce himself from Nicole, we could give up that doughnut. We could get up and go to a crap job. We could find it in our hearts to forgive and forget. We could do anything because Tom showed us it was possible.

When the news broke, Tom went from favorite star to inspirational deity. He did more good than Dr. Phil could ever hope to achieve. He gave hope to everyone from independent filmmaker Trevor Reece to the band members of The Shemps. He gave them strength. He gave them knowledge of self, which can’t be bought or learned from a book. Would Pirate Monkey Productions exist without Tom? I don’t know. Would The Shemps have released “Spazz Out” without Tom? I don’t know that, either. But I do know he made those things easier to accomplish just by the very fact that he breathes the same air as us mortals.

Next time you foolishly dismiss him as a pretty-boy actor who sits on a gold crapper, remember the fact that he lived with Nicole Kidman and not only got to see her naked, but he also got to do all those things you fantasized about while in the shower. And he walked away. That’s what makes him a hero and you a zero. Appreciate it now or pay for it later – it’s all the same to me. I’ll accept the strength Tom has given me, and I’ll do something productive with my life. The rest of you can m********e to the things he once had.

Kudos to you, Tom, for a better tomorrow.

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