Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Who Are "They?"

If you have not yet had a chance to see the movie "Role Models," give it a look-see. It may not be for everyone and may be pigeon-holed as just another simple humor buddy comedy, but there is some heart in there that I am certain is getting lost in translation. Specifically the character of "Augie" played smartly and convincingly by Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Again, I am sure the party line is that he's back with another take on his "McLovin" character, but that is wrong...so wrong. In fact, I almost cried once or twice in this movie that is all about the laughs. Back to Augie in a bit...

It is commonplace for people, as they get older, to become more set in their ways, curmudgeonly and stubborn. Things that may have been bendable issues are now no longer up for discussion. I have always had an ingrained sense of stubbornness courtesy of my genetic make-up from both parents, and I have honed my skills of refusing to waiver over the years. I fancy myself liberal and open to a variety of ideas, but some things - we just won't go there!

I can lay out some of my unending quirks even at this very moment - I am watching hockey...in Arizona...while wearing my Canucks jersey which I MUST wear while watching any game! So concerned with supporting my team, I will wear the jersey that corresponds with what the team is wearing on the night I am watching - the home or away, or even "Third" jersey. And being a Vancouver fan from Ottawa/Montreal/Boston territory?!?! Blasphemy! But, this is my team, my favorite sport and how I choose to watch. This is just one little nuance of me.

The thing is, I don't ever want to be TOLD what to think or feel, or buy, or wear, or watch, or do, or say, or think...most people say they don't either...but dig deep and see how true that really is. Ever find yourself marching in line with the lemmings? I don't mean following rules and laws and playing it straight - I mean the things in life you succumb to because that's what "they" say it should be. As my friend Alison would say, "Who are THEY, anyway?" Styles, trends, news, foods, places...do you do it because that's what "they say" you should do? Think about that...and we'll come back and revisit the notion.

And, beyond this thought, it isn't even about wrapping some love around your inner chi or whatever you embrace as "your own." It is about doing or not doing because that's what YOU choose and not what the prevailing winds say. Lately, my biggest correlation to this ideology is the phenomenon of "Twilight" or even "Harry Potter." Never seen, heard, read or watched either of these things. I am certain they are both great fun (especially Harry Potter) but when they came to the forefront, I felt like the masses flocked to these because that's what the populous said to do. There is something inherently pride swelling in "discovering" things and making them their own, and not falling into line. We all have those little things that we found on our own, and if they do hit the mainstream, we suddenly feel like we lost our connection. I can't wait to one day meet Harry Potter...on my own terms.

I know the biggest reason we don't always trust our own instincts and gravitate to what we want is because of popular opinion. There are times when we are made to feel small or strange because of the things we hold dear to our hearts. How can you wear that or do that or eat that or watch that? And I am not innocent of this either...I have mocked people for their little beliefs - never mindful of the weirdness that is me! That being said, this is clearly a 'do as I say, not as I do' rant more than anything. Or better yet, a reminder to show understanding or tolerance for someone's beliefs that don't line up with yours. In fact, appreciate the character it takes to do something unique and different and embrace it in the face of opposition.

Back to Augie.

This was the flash card that reminded me of my quirks and people reacting to those things that aren't perceived as the popular opinion. Without being Mister Spoiler, Augie is a fan of "Dungeons and Dragons"-style reenactments and battles. He wears capes and choreographs battle sequences. Because of this little quirk he is ridiculed, made fun of and laughed at - even by his own family. Why? Because it is different and not the thing everyone does. Forget that is brings him joy, gives him an escape from the world, and is something he is good at. "They" say it isn't right, so "they" feel the need to make him feel small because of it. Why can't he just do what makes him happy? Why can't we all?

Do you have something that you do that doesn't align with popular opinion? Is there some new 'fad' or trend that seems to be sweeping the pop landscape that, in your heart, you know just isn't 'you?' I challenge you to take pause whenever a decision is pending based on something 'they' say.

And then go ahead and tell "they" to go straight to Hell!


Teddybug said...

Joe, I love this post. You have described exactly how I feel much of the time. Especially with my in-laws. Even after 13 years of marriage, most of my husband's family still doesn't understand me, because I like to do things my way, not the way "they" like to do it.

As for Harry Potter....I resisted for a very long time, for exactly the same reason as you have. Now I'm obsessed, but on my own terms.

Thanks for brightening my morning!

None said...

Loved this Joe! Now I want to blog about "shoulds". Also, I'd like to add that I've never seen the movie "Titanic." And now I'm more convinced than ever to stand firmly in my resolve not to give up those three hours of my life!