Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What's it all about, Alfie?

What is life ALL ABOUT?

A big question.

And everyone has their own answer.

Often we can't say exactly what it is--but we know it when we see it.

Movies that affect us deeply often jibe with our sense of--gee, life is really like that.

Sometimes it's a sense of how life is that we'd rather weren't so.

I remember reading about the writers of the sitcom Roseanne trying to come up with one particular punchline.

Roseanne had to be skeptical that something good could really happen.

The line the writers eventually came up with was--"Yeah, and there's chocolate air."

Maybe not the funniest line on earth, but it captured the sense of--yeah, chocolate is the best thing in life, and wouldn't it be great if it were plentiful and calorie-free?

But that's a punchline.  And most punchlines don't go that deep.

Sometimes, when I think about how life turns out, I think about that old hymn "Simple Gifts."  Some of the lyrics are:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,

'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be....

And when we find ourselves in the place just right...

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come round right.

That is: 

things happen,

and things happen,

and then things turn out a certain way,

and maybe it's not what you wanted,

and not what you expected,

and not what you tried to achieve--

but there it is.

And in a certain way, it's right.

Often we glimpse this sense of life by looking at the movie's ending.

What is Million Dollar Baby about?

"It's hard to let go"?

"Fight--and don't stop"?

"If you gotta go, go out slugging"? 

Or maybe it's:

The hardest fight is the one you don't want to fight.

But even then, you want someone who cares about you in your corner.

--Edward R. O'Neill

No comments: