Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Keep Yourself Alive

"Next time the guy at the AT&T store asks you how your phone got damaged, just say "suicide attempt."  It may not get you a discount, but the look on the dude's face is priceless."

Sure we all got problems. As much as I'd love to wake up at five AM and start doing military-style push ups while blasting Christina Aguilera's "Fighter," more times than not, I hit the snooze button and play Gary Jules' version of "Mad World," and pull the covers over my head.
Why is it when we're at our lowest all we want is for one thing to go right or one person to appreciate us; then when we get that very thing we're more upset than before?  Don't believe me?  Ever felt low till someone cared about you then felt even worse when they wouldn't date you?  If the answer is no, you've never been to high school. 

There was a pretty profound quote in the not-so-profound Rodney Dangerfield movie, "Back to School."
In one scene his son says, "I was a lot happier when I was miserable" and while it's probably out of context, I could relate.  When no one read my stuff, I thought having someone draw my stories would be the greatest thing in the world.  Now it's work.  I have to make sure I send Clay quality scripts that are worthy of his time and effort.  After that I wanted fans, and I got a  few and after that I wanted...see the pattern?  Could it be that somehow this constant dissatisfaction is it's own motivation.  It took me years, but I learned that dispair and drive are two sides of the same coin.  You shouldn't be happy and complacent, you should enjoy your life but always strive to make that extra step.

My characters were always men of unshakable optimism.  Sydney Australia, though aware that he's not very good at his job as a leader, is a believer in his purpose.  As odd as it may sound from a story as goofy as American Ambition, he pulls the team through most situations with his blind devotion to duty.  Arsenne never gets down cause he's so totally lost in his own world that no situation is ever serious enough to warrant concern.  I intentionally write scripts so that Johnny Raiker takes a more vicious beating in every issue, and no matter the ass-whipping, he'll always get up.  I think that's why fans like him.  Kelvin is a man who respects only the laws of fact and truth, however, he also believes in the power of variables to shape those truths.  He's cocky, he's uncooperative, he's flat out ornery, but he believes in himself, and will stop at nothing to save you no matter how hard you kick and scream.

I met an ex-firefighter on the subway recently.  He told me about his experience on 9/11.  He talked about his friends being reduced to bodiless legs and unrecognizable heads fused to their helmets.  People he worked with, went to their birthdays, celebrated their kids' christenings.  After that, he just couldn't do it anymore.  He's was a jovial guy and he smiled when he told me, "I think about it every day."  If you ever wondered how a real man carries his pain, wonder no more. 

The only thing I thought to say was, "we owe you a lot." He told me I didn't, the second he signed his contract, he agreed to die for me.  Die for me?  This guy didn't even know me.  If you were to burn your own house down in some sloppy attempt at suicide, this dude would risk one of the most painful deaths imaginable to drag you out of your own mess.  One has to wonder much of their own life really belongs to them.  Do any of us have the right to off ourselves considering the lengths that strangers will go to help us?

Ever walk past a crack in the sidewalk or a roof and see all manner of weeds growing in there?  Life will spring up anywhere there is opportunity and cling tenaciously to its existence as long as there's a hole with some dirt and a few drops of rain.  I don't care what you're going through, if a weed can be that strong, so can you. 

In the words of Jerry Springer, take care of yourselves, and each other. 

Leaving you with a few words by William Blake:

Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

No comments:

Post a Comment