Saturday, December 18, 2004

It's a Wonderful Life

Well, 'tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la and so on.

Tonight I pose a question that I'm sure most people ask themselves after watching the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life." What would the world be like if I had never been born? Now, I'm not in the same shoes that George Bailey found himself in towards the end of the movie. I haven't lost $8,000 and am not contemplating throwing myself off a bridge into frigid waters. I'm just curious. We don't think about the people that we may have touched along our own life's journey. We're too caught up in our own day-to-day happenings. "How will this effect me?" "What am I gonna get out of it?" These are selfish questions that we're all guilty of asking.

My theory is that our lives are like a pebble dropped into a pond. If you've ever seen the effect that the pebble has on the surface of the water, then you can probably understand my point. When that little rock breaks the surface it causes a ripple effect that keeps on spreading. That's how our actions can be seen. Your life will touch other lives, and those lives will go on to touch others, and so on. Another movie that can draw from this is "Pay It Forward" with Kevin Spacey and the kid from "The Sixth Sense." What's his name? Haley Joel Osment or something. The idea there is that one person would do something great for three other people. And instead of those people paying the one person back, they would pay it forward, doing something great for three more people. How much greater would the world be if we all lived by that standard?

I digress. I was talking about a movie that is generally saved for Christmas, but really has a valuable message that we can take with us all year. "It's a Wonderful Life" tells us about George Bailey and how he sacrificed all of his dreams of greatness to make a difference in the little town of Bedford Falls. He comes into some really hard times, as most of us do at some point. When he feels like he's at the end of his rope, an angel named Clarence shows him just how great his life really was, and what a difference he made in others' lives.

And then there's Mr. Potter. Has anyone else ever wondered what happened to that old fart after the end of the movie? I sure have. Did he ever get what was coming to him. I know George certainly got what was coming to him. But what about Potter? When it comes right down to it, he stole that $8,000. He knew the money belonged to the Building & Loan, and yet he held onto it. Probably put it in a safe with the rest of his mountains of gold. What a jerk!

Christmas is now a week away. I'm one of those last minute shoppers. I've gotten gifts for approximately two people. One I got a few weeks ago, only because I had a discount at Old Navy that was only good for the first week in December. The other I finished up tonight, only because I have to give the present tomorrow when I have Christmas with my mom's extended family. I'm really bad with the gift buying thing. Especially this year.

I've moved back home after being gone for 6 years. Last year I had a clear cut view of who to buy gifts for and I knew exactly what to get them. This year, it's not so easy. The dynamic in so many of my relationships has changed, I'm left questioning whether or not I should even buy stuff for some of those people that I still call my closest friends. And then there's the issue of having a stepfather now. That's right, my mom got married today. Yeah, today.

I didn't go to the wedding. Technically there was no wedding. I'm sketchy on the details, but I'm pretty sure they got married at the courthouse. I was invited, but I opted to have lunch with some friends instead. Someday maybe I'll go into detail about all this on here. But for now, let's just stick with the weirdness that will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow.

This year is also pretty rough for the family. Tomorrow we are celebrating Christmas at my grandmother's house. Tomorrow is the six month anniversary of my grandfather's death. And now mommie dearest wants to get all the attention focused on her because she got married. Again... something for another time. There would be bitterness there if you can pick that up.

If you watch any holiday movies this season, you should definitely see these three films: "It's a Wonderful Life," "A Christmas Story," and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." These are all classics that the whole family can pretty much enjoy. Happy holidays everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Self-Titled Debut

At some point, during the mid-90s, there was a short-lived sitcom starring Jonathan Silverman called "The Single Guy." This was one of those sitcoms that cloned the same basic formula that made Seinfeld and Friends such runaway hits. In this particular comedy you had Jonathan Silverman playing a single guy. Pretty original, huh? The deal was that all his friends had gotten married, leaving him to be the lone single person in their circle. Now, I'm not saying that all my friends have gotten married, but I feel that this single guy mentality is one that suits me just fine.

I am single. I have been all 25 years of my life. Unless you count that time in preschool when I proposed to a girl named Angie. It never would've worked out. We both had way too much growing to do. I mean, we were only 4. Anyway, here's how it works for me: I'm friends with a girl for a long time, several years, give or take. Then, for some reason, I decide that I have feelings for this girl, or whatever girl it happens to be at the time. And then I finally work up the nerve to ask her out, but at this point it's far too late for anything to happen. This is because we have entered the friends zone. This is the point of no return. Do I regret being friends with these women? Absolutely not. Have we been able to move past that awkwardness that inevitbly occurs when one person feels something stronger than the other? In most cases, yes. Actually, I can't think of anyone that I haven't been able to maintain a healthy friendship with after revealing those pesky feelings.

So what good comes from this MO that I have developed in seeking a relationship with the opposite sex? I've become comfortable with the idea of rejection. I'm pretty much used to the word "no." And the phrase, "We're just friends," gets easier to hear every time. There's a song by a man named Andy Gullahorn that's titled "She Just Wants" which is pretty much the theme song of my dating life, or lack thereof. The repetitive line in the chorus says, "She just wants to be my friend." She just wants to be my friend.

And what do I do to change this pattern in my life? Nothing. I do nothing about it. Because I'm just not the kind of person who can walk up to a woman I'm attracted to and ask her out. I tried once. I was at Logan's Roadhouse and asked a waitress out. Yeah, she quickly let me know she had a boyfriend and she looked just as uncomfortable as I felt. Therefore I've had to rely on the "friends first" theory of dating. But as you can see from previous paragraphs that it just doesn't work in my case.

So, am I doomed to wander the planet alone and aimlessly looking for love in all the wrong places? I don't think so. I'm just going to have to find a new way of doing things. Starting with a blind date. Yeah, that's right, I said it. A co-worker is pulling strings, trying to connect me with a friend of hers. What have I got to lose? I mean, it's a date with someone I don't know at all. I'm investing no emotion into asking someone out, therefore there's no chance of being hurt or creating weirdness if it doesn't work out. We meet for coffee at some obscure little out-of-the-way Starbuck's and if we connect, then we've had a nice cup of coffee and make plans to have dinner sometime. If there's nothing there, then I'm only out a cup of coffee and in 15 minutes I can make one of those sitcom excuses to get out of there. "Oh yeah... I have this thing that I have to get to. Sorry, but it's been nice... I'll call you." No, I can't just say, "I'll call you." Again, I'm not that guy. If I say I'll call, I'd have to call. And then I'd just get sucked into something I don't want to be in. Yeah, I have no idea what I'm doing. Stay tuned for further updates. Not only in the dating game but other trivial aspects of life.