Posted by: steveonfilm | April 12, 2008

What Are You Afraid Of?

I won’t post up stuff like this a lot…but from time to time I get in weird moods and I think it’s important that other artists get a chance to peer into someone else’s head. It sort of lets you in on who other people are. How they think. Stuff thats on their mind. This is one of those posts. It will ramble. It might not make a lot of sense. But it’s true, honest thought.

Take it for what it is…

I thought I was going to be reading the screenplay for Collateral tonight. However, there was a change of plans. When The Wife and I got back from dinner we decided to watch a movie instead. I’ve had two flicks I got from Netflix sitting around for at least two weeks.

The first is One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. I saw this once when I was like ten and had no idea what was going on. I’ve always wanted to go back and watch it again now that I’ll actually understand just what the hell is going on. I saw Pink Floyd’s The Wall this way too. I was home alone. It was on HBO. I was like twelve. No clue what I was watching. At any rate, The Wife had zero interest in Cuckoo.

The other movie I had was The Pursuit of Happyness. Both The Wife and I have enjoyed The Fresh Prince since high school, so she was okay with checking this movie out. I put it in and 1 hour and 57 minutes later we both sort of sat there happy and sad at the same time.

This isn’t a great movie. But it’s a darn good one. And it tells a great story about perseverance, and following your dream, and loving your children. I think some people unfairly criticized the film for putting emphasis on “money equaling happiness.” That criticism misses the point. Will Smith’s character Chris wasn’t trying to be a stockbroker because he wanted to be rich. He was trying to provide a better life for his son.

Anyway, I thought it was a good flick. But it got me thinking. I’m sitting here in my nice house in the burbs, enjoying some wine, watching my big ass TV, and I’m thinking…where do I get off? I mean, last week my big concern was whether or not I was going to be able to buy an Audi. It’s just…I don’t know, I feel guilty. I feel like I should be doing more with my life.

It’s stupid. I know. I shouldn’t feel bad because I’ve taken advantage of what life has dealt me. But I do. I do. I felt bad after watching that movie. I’m sitting in my house watching movies and my mother and brother just went to Ecuador for a week to build houses in the middle of the jungle. I just played XBOX. Them…jungle. Me…XBOX.

I mean, I grew up in a pretty rough blue collar neighborhood outside Detroit. I was fortunate that I had two great parents. My friends parents were drunks. My grandfathers were drunks. Most of my relatives were drunks. But for whatever reason my parents broke the cycle. They weren’t. They were good parents. So good, that most of the other kids in the neighborhood hung out at our house just so they could see what having good parents was like.

We weren’t rich, we were solid middle class, and my parents worked really hard. They worked hard to make the money they made. My mom went to night school to become a nurse. My dad worked long hours doing whatever the heck it is he did (something in sales for some computer companies and automotive supply chain stuff, and some project management stuff, I don’t really know). And it all paid off. They put together three boys that, while not the “best kids” in the world, turned out pretty darn good. None of us are alcoholics. Two of us graduated college. I’m married. My youngest brother has been with his girlfriend for several years. We were lucky. And yet…I feel guilty.

And I don’t know why. Things weren’t always easy for me. I had a group of kids wait for me after school to beat me up when I was in fifth grade. That was hard. I was big, but that always only went so far. I was picked on a lot in Jr. High. I mean, really picked on. I was lucky that by then I was also pretty damn tough too, or I would have been in more trouble physically. My senior year we moved to Charleston, SC, and most of the school could have cared less about me. My second to last year of college I worked seven days a week, took a full load of classes, and was in a fraternity, with a steady girlfriend (who is now The Wife) and I made it through.

I did it. But I still feel guilty about it. Like I should be doing more with my life. Something…something to make a difference, something that gives me some sort of validation to my life.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just being a douche bag. Maybe I’m just being human. But I get this way…like something is missing. And I don’t think volunteering down at the soup kitchen is the answer. I do what I can. I donate to Goodwill instead of selling things on E-Bay. I leave out clothes for Veteran’s Clothing drives. I donate to the Red Cross. Hell, I donate to my local public radio station.

It’s just…I don’t know. I just feel guilty. Maybe it’s me.



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