I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Six Rules from People Like Us

Most doors in this world are closed
so if you find one you want to get into
you better have an interesting knock
Photo: Evan Bench
People Like Us flopped at the box office. I often like flops though.

I still think Howard the Duck was a great movie. Just because a movie flops doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It simply means not enough people cared about the storyline to go see it. Or maybe the movie wasn’t marketed well enough for its potential core audience to even know it exists. Or maybe movie critics tore it up before moviegoers had a chance to make up their minds.

I don’t know why People Like Us flopped, but it kept my attention throughout for a number of reasons. It’s about a salesman named Sam who discovers he has a sister, Frankie, and a nephew, Josh, while he is settling his father’s estate and that causes him to rethink the way he is living.

As somebody who is single and will probably never have children, but does have two nieces and a nephew, the uncle-nephew storyline resonated with me. Josh is picked on in school and is forced to fend for himself much of the time as his mother attempts to put food on the table. As Sam gets close to Josh, he can’t help but want to be a part of Josh’s life. Josh feels the same way.

Sam’s relationship with his own father was contentious, but throughout the movie he hints to Josh that his dad had six rules he lived by and that one day he might share them with Josh. It’s funny how closely a son is tied to his father, even if he doesn’t want to be. When Sam believes Josh is ready for the six rules, he lays them on him.

The Six Rules

1. If you like something because you think other people are going to like it, it’s a sure bet no one will.

Great advice.

2. Most doors in the world are closed, so if you find one that you want to get into, you damn well better have an interesting knock.

True. Every writer needs to heed this advice.

3. Everything that you think is important, isn’t. Everything that you think is unimportant, is.

Deep, but often true. We chase all sorts of lusts expecting fulfillment when we finally indulge them, when in reality, only sacrificial living will satisfy.

4. Don’t s*** where you eat.

Crude, but good advice. It’s an old saying that means you shouldn’t do something that will jeopardize something or someone you care about. If you want to keep your best friend, don’t steal from her. If you want to keep your workplace free of drama, don’t date your co-worker.

5. Lean into it. The outcome doesn’t matter. What matters is that you were there for it, whatever it is – good or bad.

I love this one for a couple of reasons. We rarely control the outcome of anything we do. But leaning into it means we were fully present and we gave it our best shot, and that leads to no regrets.

6. Don’t sleep with people who have more problems than you do. [This one was cut out of the movie clip above by whoever posted it originally.]

This one is moronic for more reasons that I want to get into, but five out of six isn't bad.

It’s ironic that Sam’s father is leaving a legacy through these rules, not only to Sam, but also to Josh, even though he was a deeply flawed man. His own family had a hard time respecting him, but the lessons he learned about life live on in his family anyway.

As I listened to these rules – which are basically truths – being passed from one generation to the next, I couldn’t help but think of the rules my own father passed on to me. I’ll share those in my next post, hoping you’ll share some from your own father as well.


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