+ F u l l - N a m e; Parker Kross
+ F C; James Wolk
+ A g e; 30
+ B i r t h d a y; September 25th
+ S t a t u s; Straight, single
+ N i c k n a m e s; Friends sometimes call him Park but mostly Parker
+ L i k e s;
- The piano
- Art galleries
+ D i s l i k e s;
- Walking in pubic
- Having people stare at him
- People seeing him as weak or pitying him
- Having Parkinson’s
- Rap music
- Not being able to drive
+ B i o;
Parkinson’s is usually considered an old person’s disease. But for Parker, it started his senior year of high school. Up until then he had been a talented piano player who was going to be going to California University of Fine Arts on a piano scholarship where he would’ve performed for their school in their symphony. That was how he started to notice something was wrong with him. He’d sit down to play the piano and his hands would have a small tremor and as the days progressed, his arm muscles grew stiff and he couldn’t lift them as easily.
By the time he was diagnosed his balance was being affected as was his posture, he now stood with a slight stoop of his right shoulder – as if he was leaning in to tell someone a secret. When he stood, he wobbled just a bit as he struggled to keep and find his balance. Putting clothes on became difficult and he stopped wearing hats because he’d reach up to put it on and it’d never sit properly.
Kids at school started calling him Parkinson’s Parker. Some would even slap him on the back from behind, just to see if he’d lose balance and fall onto his face – which he would. They also got a kick out of asking him if he was drunk when they’d see him walking with his new slow walk with one shoulder slumped and his arm swinging awkwardly.
After losing his scholarship and starting on some medications that should help with the symptoms but came with horrible side effects – he wasn’t in a good place. His graduation night, he opted not to walk for his diploma – not wanting to hear the snickers and laughs from his classmates. Parker took a year off before deciding to go to community college, he needed to get himself prepared to go back into an environment where people would stare at him, point and maybe even laugh.
While taking that year off, Parker tried to find a new dream and goal in life. He had wanted to be a composer for musicals on Broadway. But with his Parkinson’s that dream was gone. After struggling to find a new goal and career choice he soon discovered that he found American History and World History to be quite fascinating. So he decided to go to school to get his masters in American and World History and then a teaching degree as well. Although he vows to never be a high school teacher. Kids of that age were too cruel and vicious. College though, people seemed to be less judgmental. Now at age 30, he is teaching at UCLA and loving it. The students all seem to be very understanding of his condition. It took him several years to find a school that would let him teach for them, people were worried the students would be too distracted by his awkward stance or the weird way he moved. But he was lucky that UCLA took a chance on him – and for that he will always be grateful for.
+ J o b; Professor at UCLA