11 January 2007

About a Buddy

Tonight I watched American Splendor. I can only describe this film as drab, which probably defines it as extremely successful as this is the essential feature of the tale. I can't even be bothered summarising the story it was so boring, I switched off in the second half completely. The moment that struck me in the film came when the protagonist said, "I'd be lost without my routine."

Me too. I never thought I would find being a public servant so satisfying. A friend once asked me how I could be happy with such a boring job. (Can you believe he refinances home loans for a living?) I told him an analogy about how it was like sharpening a sword which I could then put to any purpose I chose when the time was right. I was just treating the experience as a character building exercise. He chose to respect that.

Fair enough. He once rang me and said, "I was thinking of you for hours last night because I wanted to ask you something, but I didn't call." I said, "That's funny. I had this dream last night..." and told him all about it. He said, "Cool. That answers my question." In my dream I was explaining the condition of sleep: "See, my eyes are closed, but I know my room is still there, I just can't do anything else in it." His question: "What happens to us when we die?"

Years later, when he came off his motorbike he messaged me from hospital in the middle of the night and asked me to pray for him. Of course, I promptly forgot to. A few days later, he thanked me for the immediate difference that I made. I kept my mouth shut that time. Faith is a funny thing.

What the hell was I talking about? Oh yeah, how boring my job is! Oops, I was trying to prove that it is possible to elevate the banal with an attitude shift - we are all exalted as we so chose. American Splendor didn't succeed for me in that regard at all. Still, I thought Paul Giamatti was brilliant in Sideways. I found the ending particularly rich in mirth.

"Be true to your work, your word, and your friend," advises Thoreau.

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