My favourite scene from the movie As Good As It Gets has to be the dialogue below:
Melvin Udall: I’ve got a really great compliment for you, and it’s true.
Carol Connelly: I’m so afraid you’re about to say something awful.
Melvin Udall: Don’t be pessimistic, it’s not your style. Okay, here I go: Clearly, a mistake. I’ve got this, what – ailment? My doctor, a shrink that I used to go to all the time, he says that in fifty or sixty percent of the cases, a pill really helps. I hate pills, very dangerous thing, pills. Hate. I’m using the word “hate” here, about pills. Hate. My compliment is, that night when you came over and told me that you would never… all right, well, you were there, you know what you said. Well, my compliment to you is, the next morning, I started taking the pills.
Carol Connelly: I don’t quite get how that’s a compliment for me.
Melvin Udall: You make me want to be a better man.
I am pretty certain that just because everyone loves a happy ending, Melvin is granted moral redemption at the end of the movie and they walk off in to the haze of flour. But it does make one wonder whether Melvin’s character was meant to be a hero or a villain or simply be a protagonist of a heart warming story. I am willing to bet that the writers were happy to let the audience make that choice for themselves.
But this is not a movie review, I am writing this blog to shout out in to the cosmic void that I refuse to become a villain in my own story! Or a victim for that matter. I am simply the protagonist of my story and I will tell it the way I please. Why? Simply because I can!
Do not worry though, I don’t intend to bore you with my story. It is full of cliches and stereotypes and with a fair share of idiosyncrasies given the rather unusual road that I have been privileged to walk down. The intention of writing this blog post in the first person is rather sinister: To patronise you in to feeling sorry for me. And therein lies the rub as the bard said. Most of the sentient members of our species are all too eager to belong to a group, a society, a culture, a nation and in doing so they thrive on the collective empathy that enables the human society to exist in a quasi peaceful state. We thus feel empowered to righteously point fingers at individuals who have the audacity to stand apart. At the same time we are ever so eager to practice idolatry and we find a steady supply of heroes to idolise – willingly or unwillingly – that is a moot point.
Those that we find worthy of our disdain are either cast out to be ridiculed or are politely ignored as their monetary contributions to the society are hard to pass up on. I wish to acknowledge that I belong to the purgatory that exists within these two extremes.
Of course, there are the true villains amongst us, embodiment of pure evil: capitalists, politicians, lawyers, and lest we forget religious preachers. I too particularly detest the devils and demons disguised in religious paraphernalia. But I am digressing here. Let me turn the spotlight back on to myself.
I am not an evil person. I am fairly well educated, well travelled, and well read. But somewhere along the way I was seduced by the dark side: Liberalism. That I subscribe to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism would be the nail in the proverbial coffin. Add to that my uncanny ability to patronise with impunity and my often misunderstood unabashed pride in my state of mind and you have all the makings of a narcissistic sociopath. As a matter of fact I am being evaluated by a clinical psychologist as to whether I suffer from Anti Social Personality Disorder. Apparently, it is now politically incorrect to label someone as a sociopath or a psychopath unless they pose a clear danger to themselves or to those around them.
But nevertheless I am a human being with human needs and so I find myself, at the age of forty six, in a rather unique situation. Sans the details let me just tell you that I face the prospect of either betraying myself or losing my tenuously held place in society. There are those even within my own bloodline who continue to try and get me to see the light and try and mend my ways. They warn me of the perils that lay ahead and how I should humbly allow myself to be subjected to the social norms so that I may benefit from being part of a family and a society that takes care of its own. But I refuse and subsequently I am being branded a villain hell bent on destroying my life and thereby causing irreparable damage to those nearest and dearest to me.
Well dear reader this is where I had an epiphany: What if this is as good as it gets for me? I am sure I am not alone in being in this situation so the socially responsible thing to do was to post this out there: a message in a bottle tossed in to the ocean of humanity. Those who would be unlucky enough to find and read this must excuse me for trying to pull the ground from under their feet. Alternatively in the age of #MeToo and #MenToo those who find themselves being forced to ask the same question – may this be a beacon of hope. Or maybe you are unable to find the words and the voice to question why those nearest and dearest to you are so impacted by your choices. My suggestion is that you look at yourself in a mirror and ask: Why does it even matter? Sometimes being a necessary evil is better than being an unnecessary influence which only time can decide as to whether it was good or bad.
But please don’t come knocking on my door for empathy; I am too busy living my life and having a hell of a good time! After all, I did warn you of my evil super power!