Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Best Qwalritty Brainwash!

   We are influenced by everything around us. Some things influence us directly, like laws. Wear clothes. Stop at red lights. Don't kill people in line in front of you at the grocery store, etc. Other things influence us in subtle ways, sometimes without us realizing they have. Marketing will getcha!  

   One example to illustrate this is the movie The Joy Luck Club. Great movie, by the way. It tells the story of three Chinese American mothers and daughters. Watch it, because I'm not going to spend all day recreating the plot to illustrate this tiny point. 

   The scene I want to go to is of June remembering something her recently deceased Mother said to her, after a particularly upsetting confrontation with one of the other daughters, Waverly. June had been jealous of Waverly since they were little girls, when Waverly was a renowned chess champion. June was taking piano lessons, but was certainly no pro. She carried a life-long shame for not being able to make her mother proud; for not being like Waverly.

   Her Mom told her she was mistaken. She said, in her thick Asian accent, 'only the best things for Waverly. Tonight, that crab not so good, but you eat anyway. Because you have "best qwalritty heart." In essence, the food was terrible and you didn't complain. I am so proud of you and think you have the best quality heart for accepting the worst quality life. They were both crying as music swelled in the background.  It was moving. I dare you to watch it and not at least have watery eyes. 

   But I've been thinking about it, lately. You see my own mother has the best qwalritty heart. She does more than is humanly possible and takes so little for herself. I think many wives and mothers do this. Well I want a best qwalritty heart, too, Mamma. Right? Suffer eternally without complaint? I will just lay down in the same ditch and wait for The Rapture. Well, when I say it like that of course you would reject it, but let a good actress playing a dead Asian mother say it, and watch how fast we all start taking it on the chin. 

    What a load of horse shit! (do excuse me) I want the best quality LIFE! I want my mom to have it, too! Everyone should get to have their perfect fit, their bellies full and their hearts satisfied. You are good for taking the worst? That is terrible and I disagree. I never take too much, but I do sometimes take less than my share because I want to be good. Not to just be seen as good, but actually good, like my June. A movie helped me feel ennobled about it, but it never left me feeling full. 

   Movies do that to us. Romantic comedies that end at the honeymoon fail to teach couples how to cope at year 7 or 27! We regurgitate lines from TV shows as if the jokes were ours. We give someone our very best, but only in the first few dates. Flowers, late night talks and that new sex you just can't get enough of...until you do, and then find out you don't really like each other, and start over with a stranger. Our compliments are backhanded, our prayers and praise are secret. Sick means good. Phat means attractive. I am only 36 years old and I can agree the good ole days weren't always that good, frankly, but this is ridiculous! Someone needs to invent a decoder ring or "Bullshit to Truth", the dictionary!

   Unfortunately there are no shows or movies that teach us how to get along and love each other. Those are called commercials! Even if there were such programming, those would not be what we would imitate. We are well-trained sarcastic, jaded consumers. The result is SO complete that we barely realize we are copying the thing that should be copying us. Some people are rarely 5 minutes without some box telling them what to think, where to eat, how to dress, buy and yes...even feel. Yet, no matter how much we buy, we are still disconnected from actually feeling that satisfaction they always hock in ads at Christmas. Never mind that they are only selling more electronics - thinner, smaller and blacker than ever before...and a cornucopia of prescription drugs. Snake oil with side effects. But gosh, don't all the good looking actors always look so clean and happy?

   I don't mean to rag on movies, shows or shopping. I am nobody to judge. I love The Joy Luck Club and count myself a baron in the land of the smart-asses, I may even be king! But the snark is wearing thin, don't you think? It seems SO important, more than ever before in the history of mankind (dramatic emphasis-ha ha) that we remember we are not on a movie set. The people around us aren't supporting cast. They are actual human beings, and so are we. We should treat ourselves and each other with patience and compassion.

   And, yes, admittedly our lives pale in comparison with our silver screen heros, but they are our lives, nonetheless. Be a real person. The world is missing them terribly.  Take the best but BE the best, too! Make eye contact with the person ringing you out in line at the checkout, and for heaven's sake, be nicer to each other! It is time to stop looking for that best-qwalritty-heart B.S. and start acting like best quality people, enjoying best quality lives! It has to be better than living in constant, noble agony, all the while bitterly poking fun at everything. So let's stop!

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