What An Opportunity

Gentlemanly excursion reveals subtle epiphany

In Culture, Life on June 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm

It was going to be the funniest movie of all-time. Ever. Naturally, the Gentlemen had to go together.

While Ted may have fallen just short of the hype (and the egregiously hilarious previews), it took me to a place I never expected it would: deep in thought.

When we finally found three seats together, the boys and I settled in for a good time filled with barrel laughs and girlish squeals (totally not me). The movie is based on a pot head — an extremely offensive, alcoholic Teddy bear with a big heart. What part of that isn’t funny?

If you came up with an answer, you are wrong.

I won’t remember the laughs, though. There was one line that stuck with me, one part that had the three of us nodding in agreement.

Ted was a childhood star. He was on magazine covers and television shows. He was famous. As the narrator is fast-forwarding to present-day Ted, he reminds the audience: “It doesn’t matter how big of a splash you make in this world, whether you’re Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz or Justin Bieber. Eventually, nobody gives a shit.”

I paused.

Akanimo chuckled. “It’s true.”

Akanimo is better at being OK with accepting stuff like this than I am. He always has the attitude I appreciate what I have and the ones I love while I’m constantly thinking Damn, I really need to do something incredible to have an impact.

Did we just posit some grand, deep truth? And, more strangely, did we posit it because of a movie about a fictional Teddy bear?

Maybe.

Here’s the concept: You, yes you, will be forgotten. Think about it.

Now really think about it.

It’s easy to feel bigger than we are, to forget that we are individually ants in the world and, well, something much smaller than ants in the grand scheme of history.

Obviously your family and close friends will remember you as long as they live, and your other relatives will, too. If you do enough, maybe you’ll even be remembered for 50 or 100 years. But eventually, nobody gives a shit.

Let that change the way you see the world today. I’m driven to be the most successful, the most well known, in my career. My life is all about success. It’s what I’ve always wanted, and I write that sincerely.

And for what?

Sure, any successful person will be remembered for a while. Think of the most famous, successful people around this day and age: among them are Barack Obama, LeBron James, and Steve Jobs, just to name a few.

In 200 years, do you think anyone will care about any of them? Maybe some kid will have to memorize Obama’s name for a history test, but adolescents in that day won’t care. The NBA probably won’t exist. Apple will have been far surpassed, and the one-time college-dropout who became wildly successful will be like the rest of us.

Forgotten.

Here’s my point: there’s nothing wrong with being driven. Nothing wrong with wanting success (just check out my favorite YouTube video). But when it gets in the way of you caring about the people of your life, it’s an issue. It’s bigger than an issue. It’s asinine.

When you focus more on individual success or being famous than you do on the people you encounter every day, you’re wasting your life on something trivial. Something that will be forgotten.

The movie was phenomenal, by the way.

But eventually, nobody will give a shit.

 

“Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new’? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.”
Ecclesiastes 1:8-11

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  1. Love, love, love this. One of my very faves, it carries so much truth.

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