Log in

No account? Create an account

in a web of glass, pinned to the edges of vision

So what's your opinion, Gentle Reader?

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

So what's your opinion, Gentle Reader?

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
mucha mosaic
Today, docbrite wrote:

Chris and I have been Tivoing (ooo, one of those weird-looking 21st-century verbs) old episodes of The Carol Burnett Show to watch when he gets home at night, mostly because we're both huge Tim Conway fans. Last night's episode guest-starred Joel Grey, and I remembered how much I love him. "Joel Grey got me through some bad years, man," I said, then contemplated how few people can probably make that specific statement about their adolescence.

I found this statement intriguing given that docbrite's extremely whacked dark-fantasy first novel, Lost Souls, got me through a rather tough period in my own life, and despite the fact that I know it's hardly a glowing beacon of mental health and coherence, I will treasure that book forever (WARNING: do not click the preceding link if you want to maintain your mental image of me as a tough guy- or if you don't feel like getting maybe a bit sniffly; it's a very maudlin past entry).

So this got me to thinking.
Who or what's your unexpected icon or touchstone? Did Jamie Farr teach you that it was okay to do crazy things to get out of crazy situations, on M*A*S*H? Did John LaRoquette, on Night Court, show you that it was reasonable to be a complete slimeball, in some situations?

Who or what taught you the life lesson that nobody would expect?

Inquiring minds want to know.
  • Hamlet, for the principle later paraphrased by Dr. Who, which I will re-paraphrase as: Sometimes a little madness is the most efficient method.

    (Other main influences being Aramis (Dumas), Methos (Some highlander script writer), and Holmes (Doyle).)
  • http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0671228617/qid=1086836318/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-4983758-0091808?v=glance&s=books

    "If you give a thing a name, it will come to be."

    Lesson learned: You don't have to let anyone else define who you are. ESPECIALLY not the people who think they love you, but really love what they think you are.

    At 13, this may have literally saved my frickin' life.
  • I was walking through the Jackson Square in New Orleans when a nice matronly lady, around fifty or so, walked up With a Purpose and, unbeheld by the group I was with, reach for my hands, kissed them before I knew what was happening, and said, "You should be beheld in public. But you won't, will you?"
    • ...wow, what a delightful little story! And I can so see walking away from that with an impression. Thank you for sharing it!
  • I've had a couple out-of-the-blue life lessons handed to me, but the most unusual one I could think of at the moment was when I was about to buckle to familial guilt and pressure to stay in NY, away from Aaron and all my friends out west, my Mormon grandmother (normally one to put family first, as one might expect) called me up and told me just to do what makes me happy, and if I wanted to move away, so be it. That was fairly stunning.
  • Oh, man, I'm warped by such influences.

    Spock taught me that smart, if not cool, at least SHOULD be. But I think a lot of us may have had that one, so not so unexpected. But how many people (me, for one, obviously) can say that Reed Richards taught them that smart people will, if permitted, save the world? (I can't tell you how much I wanted to be him when I grew up. Oh well.)

    Benson taught me that a cutting wit is a totally legal and terrifically satisfying weapon.

    Peter Parker taught me that you can survive a hell of a lot if you cling to your dearest priorities like they're a life-preserver. They are, it turns out. (Oddly enough, I'm not sure I ever learned the With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility part, really.)

    The Doctor (hi, someone else mentioned him) taught me that a flexible mind can get around any block. More importantly and always at the forefront of my thinking, he also taught me that only idiots have to resort to killing. I still believe this with all my heart, by the way. You know, forget everything I said about Reed Richards and Spock; the Doctor's the go-to guy for smart, too. Doctor Who remains my favorite television show ever and it's probably the most right answer I could give to your post. Sorry I took so long to get here.

    • You might find this interesting. Steve Rude firmly believes that everything important that he learned about being a person, he learned from Star Trek. The idealism and standards so forth.

  • elizabeth montgomery taught me i could make magic happen by wiggling my nose :-)
  • 1. Betsey Johnson is my personal Peter Pan. She reminds me that while the body may start to get old, youthful enthusiasm and a sense of fun never need be outgrown.

    2. I'm twenty times the coward people think. When exceptionally nervous, I've been known to mentally repeat that line from Dune (and I've only seen the movie, so I get double groaner points on this): "Fear is the mind killer."

    3. Cabal/Nightbreed, Clive Barker (both the book and film): Different, even monstrously different, isn't necessarily wrong, and evil can lurk just as often beneath the beautiful or the everyday things as the ones we'd more readily define as frightening.

    4. Theda Bara: One needn't be a stick to be a goddess on earth, and wild and wacky is just fine if you can pull it off with the appropriate sly glance. (Additionally: "A hint of melodrama never hurt anyone.")
  • Inge Bell's This Book Is Not Required is about the closest thing I have to a personal touchstone, even though I don't have my copy any more.
  • It's a cliche, but Hatful of Hollow by the Smiths was the one that did it for me. Here was this painfully articulate singer who let me feel that feeling like I usually do wasn't such a bad thing. While I was mad over Duran Duran, the Smiths remains THE band of my adolescence; the one that really spoke to me. Cheesy! But true!
  • Many of my wonky life lessons from pop culture have already been brought up in one comment or another. Instead I bring you a moment, which probably doesn't qualify as a life lesson but it came at a good time, from an unsuspected source.

    The year from spring 2002 to spring 2003 is in tight running for the worst period of my life. (The worst was 1991--very similar to yours.) I was the closest I'd been to the end of my rope for over 10 years and, really, I was only holding on by fibers and fingernails.

    I'd been reading Gothic.net. One day, I logged on and there was a story called "23 Snapshots of San Francisco"--the wonderfully crafted words of scanner_darkly. I read through it. Good stuff. Then I got to the end.

    The end touched a chord in me that really needed to be touched. It wasn't quite as drastic as suddenly life was worth living but it did trigger a definite change in the way I was perceiving the world in a positive way, something nothing else had managed to do, something I had actually lost hope of doing ever again.

    I read it, by utter chance, at exactly the right time. The rough period wasn't over yet. I still had a month or so to go--with worse trials ahead--but without that critical reset, I'm really not certain what would've happened when it got worse. I still pull that story out and re-read it periodically. I have the last few lines, the part that struck me, up on my wall.

    I crawled out of my hole long enough to send him an email and tell him that it really affected me. It was the first (of three total) piece of fan mail I'd ever sent. I think I was brief. I don't think I went into the whole thing, though I don't have the e-mail anymore. I'm pretty sure I didn't even go this in-depth. I just wanted to thank him.

    How's that for unlikely?
  • From Hawkeye Pierce: just because you're in a completely unreasonable situation you don't need to shut down. you can fight the good fight within the context and it still makes a difference.

    From Joel Fleischman on Northern Exposure: it's OK to leave the urban North-East; they won't kill you and eat you.

    From Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP: never apologize for being unique. You're never too old to rock 'n' roll.


    What got me through my teenaged years was the discovery of Queen. In 1981 or so, my aunt bought me a copy of The Game for Christmas as a pretty random "it's on the charts, maybe she'll like it" present. It was pretty darned random, and it's never been one of my favorite albums of the group, but it led me towards what is my favorite album, Night At the Opera.

    I don't know that I ever got any 'message' out of the various songs, but they were sufficient to take my mind off of other things. Always were guaranteed to get me out of a funk if I listened long enough.
  • This Isn't Very Profound

    1. Gran. (1889-1989). My great grandmother was a strong woman with a great sense of humor. Despite being born in the Victorian era, she never let anyone, especially men, push her around. If people tried to stop her from doing something because she was a woman, she'd plow right over them. She had no patience for injustice or fools and spoke up everytime. She taught me to defy the world even if I'm the only one who believes as I believe. This saved my life in a very real way.

    2. My Great Aunts Ruth and Christine, who lived their way and nuts to the rest of the world. I learned that there is no point marrying someone who isn't strong and intelligent enough to give you a run for your money. I learned that you can be pretty damned happy without the husband and the picket fence as long as you like what you are doing.

    3. Bizet's Carmen, Prince, Billy Idol, and david Bowie. You can get away with just about anything as long as you do it with confidence, style, and panache.
  • The unexpected.

    I've been pondering this since Colubra posted it. Very existential. Thousands of lessons learned by meeting life directly can add up to a profound respect for just being on this planet, in the person we each inhabit.

    Aside from my family loving me each moment they were alive and my finding out only recently that sense is rare, I think one of the most unexpected 'what and who' was a weekend in Princeton years ago. It was a 'levels of consciousness' workshop with John Lilly. (Won't bore you with the memoirs.) During that weekend of dolphin breathing and high meditation I experienced the ability to be so high without artificial means that I could open my eyes, be blind and see blackness, and then literally touch my eyeballs with my fingertips and *wham* process amazement that I could 'know and not know' at the same time. I learned that a mind can function on several deep levels of perception at the same time with a conscious witness of self. I laughed for an hour.
    Totally unexpected. It gave me a blast of stamina that has since seen me survive numbers of intimate unexpected joys and sorrows.

Powered by LiveJournal.com