06 March 2007


I'm coming to the conclusion that I don't really believe in drama. That is, I don't think life really is as serious as many of us make it out to be.

My kids, for example, have a tendency to think the world has ended if they can't find a particular stuffed animal. But they're little, so that's to be expected. They're still learning what the world is really about. They're still learning what's important. The thing is, I think we grown-ups have a similar tendency to suffer from a lack of perspective about what really matters.

Maybe it's just because I've personally never really encountered significant suffering, loss or pain... but I think we have a tendency to make more of our suffering than we should. We are (generally speaking) too attached to our stuff, so losing it is dramatic. We're too attached to our own comfort, so any discomfort, however minor, is dramatic (and we don't pay enough attention to the task of comforting others - the other side of this coin). I have an idea for a story I'd like to write some day, exploring this idea - but since it'll probably be a while before I get around to writing it, I figured I'd share the concept here.

The main character is a guy who thinks he has suffered a crushing loss, but in reality his puppy is just hiding behind the couch.

He thinks he has achieved ultimate intimacy with a woman, but he's really just holding her hand.

He thinks he's a famous and skilled artist, but his doodles are really just hanging on his mom's fridge.

He thinks he's rich because he has a box of pretend money, which was really given to him so he could learn to count.

He thinks he has helped humanity tremendously, but he really just emptied a few plastic dishes (not the breakable ones) from the dishwasher - and someone else put them away in the cabinet.

He thinks he's a grown-up, but he's really 5 years old.

It may not be funny to him, but it is sort of funny, with the right perspective. It's funny because he's still learning, it's funny because we know he'll grow up and look back at it and laugh. This sort of character could certainly be part of a dramatic story... but I'd put him in a comedy, where we aren't laughing at him - we're laughing at ourselves.


Kim said...

Your comment about being too attached to our comfort fits in with a quote we were discussing in class last night ... "Comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable."

Dan said...

Love it!