Uncle Vanya

After work we went to the distillery district to see Uncle Vanya. It was enjoyable, though I found the motivations post-intermission were hard to empathize with... pre-intermission I was really identifying with the characters, they seemed human, dreaming of a better world, but trapped in the mire of the day-to-day.

We want to make the world a better place, we dream of doing great things, yet day to day we slog away on the trivial affairs of life. There's always the fear that maybe we'll get to the end and find that what we've done was of no consequence, that we were supporting the wrong ideal, or helping someone who didn't deserve our dedication.

We chafe at the day-to-day restrictions imposed by the need to find food and shelter, afraid that we will spend our whole life grubbing in the mud. We know it's wise, yet we want to throw it away and make the big gamble, follow the dream and become the most that we could be, and so we regret the life we live. So is it really wiser to be afraid to follow your dreams? Or is it wiser to follow them and love the life you lead.


  1. Elwood Jetson

    Elwood Jetson on 06/14/2008 12:41 a.m. #

    By coincidence, I came across this commencement address yesterday at http://www.tothepointnews.com/content/view/3234/2/

    But one is supposed to at least start - commence - a talk such as this by saying funny things. So I'll start by talking about Clark Gable movies. If you've heard of Clark Gable at all, you know he was the biggest movie star in Hollywood a long time ago. His most famous movie was of course Gone With The Wind.

    He made a movie in 1955 called The Tall Men with Jane Russell as his girlfriend and Robert Ryan as the heavy. It's a pretty ordinary Western flick with outlaws and cowboys and Indians - and at the end, Ryan, the bad guy, and his henchmen get the drop on Gable, the good guy, and all seems lost. Suddenly, surprise, Gable outfoxes Ryan and triumphs. Gable makes his exit, and after he does, Ryan delivers a line that I want you to never forget.

    Serendipity is funny, a very funny thing, finding something where you least expect it. Out of the blue, out of a movie awash with pedestrian dialogue, comes a line so profound it detonates inside your brain. Ryan turns to his men and says:

    There goes the only man I ever respected. He's what every boy dreams he'll grow up to be - and wishes he had been when he's an old man.

    Tell me - do you think that's funny? I'll tell you - hearing those words will make so many old men - and old women - cry.

    We get only one shot at life. You grow up with dreams and ideals but the older you get the more they slip through your fingers, and then you're old - it seems just the day before yesterday when you were young - and you realize that soon it will be over, over forever, and you look in the mirror and you think about the man or woman you once dreamed you would be and you hear those words in some Clark Gable western movie and... you cry.

    You cry because it's too late and there is not one damned thing you can do about it.

  2. Mike Fletcher

    Mike Fletcher on 06/14/2008 10:27 p.m. #

    Thanks for the pointer to the article. Very worthwhile read.

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