"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, January 22, 2015

People, damages, and having a past

I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey and I do not plan to do so. My buddy, Tameri, already took that bullet for me. She read the whole trilogy, pronounced the writing not just awful, but godawful, and like any good book reviewer, shared specifics with me to quantify just how godawful it was. She did say, however, that she understood why it was so popular.

"Women fall in love with Christian because he's so damaged."

Yeah, I know we read books and watch movies about characters that have a past, that are broken and trying to renew themselves or right a wrong or somehow seek redemption. They intrigue us. Especially for women - we want to heal these broken souls. But is that who we'd really like to have a relationship with?

I mean, look at this guy.

He's sexy. He's passionate. He's got a boatload of baggage. Yes, he makes you swoon, but would you want to exchange apartment keys with him? Wedding vows? Cell phone numbers? He may be super-hot, but you wouldn't surprise him in the shower.

The reason this is on my mind is that I was listening to NPR recently and there was an author on Fresh Air talking about his memoir on PTSD. (Forgive me but I don't remember his name and it's not germane to the story.) He had gone to Iraq as a war correspondent, came home with PTSD and not only wrote of his experience, but researched the illness to write about it from the diagnostic side of the fence. What struck me most about the interview was his reason for wanting to go to Iraq.

Paraphrasing here, he said he wanted to go because he wanted to be "a man with a past." 

Okay, listen. I understand making choices in your life that you think are good but turn out not-so-much and you regret them and now you're a man/woman with a past. Sometimes things happen to you, outside of your control, and give you a past. If you have traumatic enough memories or spin your minor memories in just the right way, you can be a mysterious man/woman with a past. 

But to consciously choose a dangerous path just to get that label? Not sure I get that.

Anyone out there want to share how they've manipulated their life in order to be a specific type of person?

No comments:

Proud Member of ALA!

I support fair and equitable library access to ebooks and so should you.