I like John Wilder's blog.
Can't help posting this clip. I love it.
That's why I added it to the Blogroll over to the right --->
the first day I found it. (And binge-read about two years' worth.)
Today's offering is another good one. He talks about a familiar Hollywood trope.
And I share his opinion, yet again. Our agreement so frequently is an indisputable measure of how brilliant he is.
(Although I do not share his fascination with PEZ. I would just buy a bag of candy, and forego the ritual of loading tiny candies into a sawn-off dispenser decorated with someone's head, because I'm a cut-to-the-chase kind of guy.)
Today's post put me in mind to reply there. But it got too long, so he lost a long comment, and I get a blog post. And now, so do you.
One of many differences between Hollywood scripts and Reality v1.0:
IRL, the hero-become-bum doesn't wake up, decide to turn himself around, and become Rocky.
He lives in squalor, catches a cold, works it into pneumonia, and he dies, right there in that rat -infested alley.
Every. Single. Time.
People IRL with their crap together never become the bum in the alley, because they're not that stupid to begin with.
To stab another trope in the heart, they don't get on the suicide mission with the Hero, not even with a parachute.
Because they never get on the Plane Ride Of Death to begin with.
Kids have fairytale storybooks.
Grown ups have movies.
Some of them are valuable, accurate, and teach valuable life lessons, or they're just hella good entertainment that scratches our cultural itch for a happy ending. (Not many of those lately, but the few we get tend to be exquisite.)
But the best life lessons don't make good theatre.
Stay in school.B-O-R-I-N-G.
Get married before you have kids.
Live within your means.
Save for what's important.
Make prudent preparations for tougher times.
Don't play stupid games; don't win stupid prizes.
There's a stack of those scripts in a landfill, because no one would pay money for such predictably obvious common sense.
Hollywood (like some blogs) has learned that Bad Decisions Make Good Stories.
"Tragedy is me stubbing my toe.
Comedy is you falling off a cliff."
- Mel Brooks
We've noted in these pages that the ironclad recipe for every drama, good and bad, is always the same as the template for every episode of Rescue 9-1-1:
a) Intractable forces of Nature
b) Human stupidity
"A rattlesnake crawls into the yard.
Marge left her three-year-old toddler playing outside unsupervised, so she could concentrate on her soap opera.
Let's see what happens next."
"The Coast Guard forecast a full gale warning.
But Biff has a shiny new 25' cabin cruiser to take out for his first day on the water, with no radio or safety gear.
What could possibly go wrong?"
That's not just Rescue 9-1-1 melodrama, it's every day life.
I work in the ER. Ask me how I know.
"An M-80 has a substantial amount of explosive force.
Timmy elects to hold a lit one in his hand anyways, because beer.
What happens next?
Tune in tomorrow to hear the sad ending of 'My New Nickname Is Lefty.'"
This sort of reality-that-isn't-news is true in courthouses everywhere.
And jail booking desks.
And unemployment counters.
And loan shark offices.
And every search and rescue call center, since about ever.
And casinos from coast to coast.
And on and on and on.
Take either component A or B away, and you lose the whole drama.
(And hey, good luck getting Nature not to be intractable.)
So that leaves the one variable that can always be changed.
Skid Row is full of people who jumped into "B", with both feet.
It's never to early to not make poor life choices.
But the world is full of people who realize that after they jump into the enclosure to pet the polar bears.
We call these people "examples".
And if fortune smiles on their efforts, we call them Darwin Award Winners, First Class (no offspring).
Because those genes aren't going to cull themselves.