Something Big: Something We All Want?

Something Big: Something We All Want

I ordered the DVD for Dean Martin’s Something Big film after realising that I did not have a copy already and that I had not seen it for ages. I love the film, or more accurately, I love the theme of the film. It goes without saying that this would be a personal favourite. I am, and always will be, a Dean Martin fanboy. But this lackadaisical western cross of comedy/action has always appealed to me. Something big? You bet, isn’t that something that we all want?

In the film Dean plays Joe Baker, a man who went west to find fame and fortune. He left Pennsylvania and his fiancée behind and planned to make something of himself in a self allocated time period of two years. In the film, his two years have stretched to four and his fiancée, Dover McBride has told Joe his time is up.

Baker now has to hurry up and do his something big before he has to leave and marry the woman he loves.

I suppose the film struck a chord with me because in some ways it inadvertently paralleled my own life.  And I think that it could resonate with a lot of people.

If you take away the sexist tone of the film – the movie places all women in the category of sexual objects of desire/lust – and look at the plot line, you realise it is about dreaming. It is also about chasing that dream. Dean’s character is a dreamer and his fiancée is not. There is a scene once she arrives in the west where she confronts her fiancé and tells him about when The Wild West Show came through her  village in Scotland.

Her point was that the whole show was make-believe and that Baker was not the big star, or The Wild West Show, he was just a man who wasn’t about all that “bigger than life” malarkey. But this is a movie and Martin’s character does do his something big, albeit, after murdering an entire Mexican bandit gang with a gatling gun; something that critics moaned about when the film opened in 1971. But the point is that Baker did something we all want. Not wholesale murder and plunder, but something big.

People dream. At least normal people do. We all have dreams and aspirations. It is in our genetic makeup. For a lot of people their dreams die when they grow up, or their dreams change. Instead of becoming rich and famous or a variation of same, they become married with children. Their dreams then mature and become more about looking out for their family and children. They when they are older, they dream of retiring with enough money to last their autumn years.

I have always been a sort of Peter Pan kind of guy. My dreams were always the same. I wanted to be a respected writer and actor. That was it. Of course there were variations on the dream, but it never strayed too far from the original desire. Even after being married twice and having two children, events that did spawn a new set of dreams, I never lost that wish to be a man of words or imagination.

Neither of my wives liked my dreams. My first wife did support it. At first. But when living in Southern California, the reality of my pursuit became too much for my first wife and she threw down the gauntlet. I had to choose between her and my dream. Foolishly, I chose her.

Mistake.

Something Big; Something We All Want
There will always be someone ready to knock your dreams down.

We divorced four years later after bringing my son into the world. I wasn’t very good at “real life” and this sped our disintegrating marriage to its bitter conclusion. After a few years of solitary misery, I then married again.

To be fair, my second wife did not realise the depth of my desire to be a scribe and artist. When I actively worked to be both, I received an intervention session or two from her. “People like us don’t do those types of jobs,” was how the intervention began. Her point was really that people like her did not do those type of jobs.  Knowing now that she was a passive aggressive, I doubt that she ever really believed that. It was just a way of keeping me reliant upon her for my happiness.

Years later when her efforts to destroy any chance I had at working in my chosen profession reached fruition and I lost my agent,  I was suicidal. The day I got my last communiqué from my agent/manager, a part of me died. So did my marriage. I stuck with it for a long time after because of our daughter, but the relationship had been irrevocably severed.

My dreams, as a result, died too. I turned my back on the two things that had always pleased me and fulfilled me in ways that nothing else could. Sure, I could take pride in both of my children and at how well they were turning out, but  my something big, had disappeared. Just as the “real me” had vanished.

We all want to do something big. What that thing is, varies from person to person. It is an individual wish and dream. I’ve gotten more second chances than any one man should. Last year I was given the ultimate second chance. Now I’m trying to fit my old, slightly refined, dreams into my remaining years.

I am working as a professional writer and I worked as an actor in  my first professional film in years. When I am not agonising over my financial situation, I am marvelling at the direction my life has taken. I’m also waiting excitedly for my “showreel” so I can start auditioning for more film roles.

At the end of the film Something Big, Dean Martin’s character rides off into the sunset with the girl and you know that if the two do get married, his dreams are over. He will fit back into the mendacity of everyday life and his wife will make sure of it. She doesn’t want The Wild West Show, which means that she’ll make sure her husband does not either.

I have been blessed in so many ways after my last few tumultuous years. I’ve met people who have literally changed my life. DiMarkco Chandler co-owner and co-founder of the Las Vegas Guardian Express; Natasha Harmer, who put me in her film; Marilyn Armstrong and her wonderful husband Garry, and so many other WordPress pals, that to express my gratitude to all of them would make up the world’s longest blog post.

Sorry, I did not mean to go into yet another long-winded thank you. My point was and this is the last thing I’ll say on it, I promise, Something Big, could be the story of my life, or yours. Isn’t that something we all want? Something big or some huge defining thing that has our name all over it? Whether your something big is having children or owning your own house. What ever that dream is, don’t forget it or give up on it. Your something big is too important to give up.

By Michael SmithDreaming Big for Something Big

United Kingdom

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It’s the Big Four-OH-OH!

Screen Shot 2013-05-04 at 09.26.43

Wow! I woke up this morning and after a long debate on whether I really wanted to get up or not, I finally rolled out of bed. The first thing I do in the mornings is pop the old kettle on for my caffeine fix (aka getting my heart started) and the second thing is to check the internet.

This of course entails checking: E-mail, my blog, YouTube channel, sites I contribute too and the daily news; I also check my “physical” mail.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that my blog now has over 400 followers!

The words pleased, chuffed, excited and grateful spring immediately to mind! I always go all “Sally Field” when I hit a landmark like this; “You like me, you really like me!” Sniffing back tears and gazing at my computer screen with a big dopey grin on my face. (Sorry Sally)

Sally Field reference aside, I am very happy.

Happy to know that there are, at this count, 402 of you who have obligated yourselves to reading whatever drivel nonsense thoughts that I set to computer screen. My old grasshopper brain continually comes up with things to write about and I am so grateful that so many of you have taken to the time to follow my literary hopping around.

So thanks guys and gals (and businesses) who have shown the ultimate sign of acceptance and followed my little blog.

“You all ROCK!”

*I also have to thank WordPress for having a site that allowed me to reach so many folks. Much more than any other site I’ve been on. So suffice to say, “WordPress, you ROCK!”

Photo on 27-03-2013 at 09.03
Cheers!

The End of the World as We Know it?

So according to certain “scholars” the world is going to end tomorrow. Or, I guess more accurately, in about 6 ½ hours (give or take a few micro-seconds). But the six some odd hour’s thing is just a guess since the Mayans did not actually say when on the 21st the world was actually going to end.

Now don’t get wrong here, I am not thumbing my nose at the Mayans or the scholars who “deciphered” the calendar that suddenly stops on the 21st of the 12th 2012. I will have to admit that I don’t care enough to spend too much time searching the net for additional references to the day the world ends. I probably should though just to be on the safe side.

I don’t want to wake tomorrow morning and waste my time being superior and doing the “See! I told you this was a load of bull pucky;” only to have everything blow up in my face at noon or twelve midnight of the 21st of December.

I know that they came up with this really awesome calendar and that’s great! But do we really think that a race of people who practised human sacrifice could predict the end of the world? Really?

If these ancient Mayan’s were so clever, why did their civilization collapse? Oh sure, a 200 year drought may have had something to do with it, but, they also could have been overthrown by folks who did not fancy being the latest sacrifice to the Gods they worshipped.

In fact, if I have the “facts” straight, their wonderful calendar does not “state” that the world will end on the 21st. It just does not go beyond that date. There could be a lot of different reasons for this.

  1. They could have gotten tired doing all that etching in stone and laid down for a rest. While they were resting, the civilization collapsed and no one cared about finishing the calendar.
  2. Maybe the royal Mayan calendar maker died (or was sacrificed) and they could not find another one.
  3. They might just have gotten bored. After all some new neighbours might have moved in next door and they needed to make them feel welcome.
  4. Last, but not least, perhaps they lost their version of the Abacus they were using and they didn’t have enough fingers and toes to finish the calendar.

But seriously why does anyone believe that an ancient civilization could tell when the world was going to end. I’m pretty sure that the lack of dates past a certain time does not indicate the end of time or dates.

Folks have been saying that the world’s going to end a lot. Okay, most of these folks are religious cranks that usually belong to a cult and believe that angels are going to descend in a space ship and take them to heaven. Of course not all cults believe this, some just think they need to be at a certain place or they’re going to miss the “heaven” train.

Talking to a bank teller today, the subject of the world ending tomorrow came up. “Well, if the world’s ending tomorrow, I’d better wish you a happy Christmas now.” He was laughing when he said it. After we finished laughing at his funny remark I wondered if I still needed to send out Christmas cards this year. I could always send them late with the excuse that I wanted to save money on the postage, especially if the cards would never get there anyway.

But on a different note altogether, I saw somewhere that it was being predicted that the world wasn’t going to end tomorrow, but that all things electrical would cease functioning for three days.

What?

I’m still not sure where this one came from, except I know for sure that it would not have been from the Mayans. Unless of course they really were that advanced and had written on their calendar that electricity would not only be invented, but, that it would be down world-wide for three whole days starting on the 21st.

Now that would be impressive. Not enough for me to believe it, but enough for me to give the Mayan’s more credit for telling the future than I have so far.

Still, if by some chance they were right, I’ll never know and that is how it should be. If we all knew when world was going to end I believe that we would all be a pretty miserable lot.

But if you don’t hear from me after tomorrow…

 

Identity (or Something Like it)

What’s around the corner?

All our lives we as a race or as a people search for our place in this world. Some folks would call this a search for their identity or their purpose in life.

Since people can be broken down into individual compartments of personality traits, emotions, wants, needs and aspirations it is easy to see why we constantly seek  our purpose or our niche in the world.

In High School I took a class in sociology 101. It was an elective course, meaning that it was not a required part of the state dictated curriculum. I had taken the course because I’d had a huge ‘blow-out’ with my drama teacher and quit the drama course as a result. That left me a whole semester with nothing to do. My ‘school mentor’ suggested I try the sociology course to fill the time.

I am glad I did. It gave me a better understanding of my fellow man and introduced me to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

This brilliant chart explained so much of how we interact with one another both as groups and individuals. The entire course helped me to become aware of how people go through life in search of different things at different stages in their lives. Did this course make me an expert? Hardly. But it did help me to understand my fellow-man and how we interacted socially.

Man is in essence a social animal. Constantly wanting to find a place to fit in. Some people find that belonging to a church fulfills that need of belonging and helps them to define who they are and what they believe in, their identity if you will.

Others join different social clubs, a book club, movie club, the rotary, the roundtable  et al. Very few people have the conviction or courage to be their own social group. Someone who does not require other ‘like-minded’ people around them to define them.

But whether you are a social animal or not, we all look for our place in the world. If we did not, why are there so many religions and variations of the same theme the world over?

Our search for identity may lead us to be many people or to join many different groups. Who is to say that this is bad? This search for identity or belonging.

Success is not a sign of identity, nor is failure. These two states of being are too fluid to be permanent states. No one ‘wins’ all the time just as no one ‘loses’ all the time. Success, besides the monetary connotation, is a state of mind, just like failure is.

There are many people in the world who are deemed to be successful by societies standards, yet by their own personal standards these successful people brand themselves failures.

Why?

It all comes back to that lifelong search for self or identity. If we have not found out who we really are and what we truly believe in, we cannot be a success. Each individual has to find their own personal identity. One that has nothing to do with the social aspect of living, but has to do with their own personal journey and their discovery of what they really are.

So until we discover our identity or something like it, we will continue to search. It is in our nature, perhaps even part of our DNA, to walk the path of individual worth and self-awareness.

On the road to nowhere?

It is a challenging journey and sometimes a frustrating one, but it is one we all have to take.

Manipulators

 

The world is full of manipulators. We all know at least one, although I think that the figure of “one” is much too low. Unfortunately, manipulators are not easy to recognise. They do not have a sign around their necks stating their intent or (unfortunately) saying “unclean.” But if you look carefully you can spot the signs or signals that these “people” exhibit.It is not easy.

Manipulators always put their “best” face forward. In other words they all “appear” to be sweetness and light on the outside. It is only on further dealings with them that they reveal their “true” nature. If you are lucky, you will catch  on to what they are doing quickly. If you are like most folks, you will not. What true manipulators do best is act one way when dealing with you, but, do the opposite when talking about you or setting you up to take a fall.

For example, I know one such manipulator who likes to present a “picture” of all sweetness and innocence. Butter would not melt in their mouth. This same person also uses words in their vocabulary that would make a twenty-year sailor blush…a lot. This person is very skilled at using smoke and mirrors at deflecting anything that might be misconstrued as “unflattering” by batting their eyelashes and swearing that they could not possibly not be a nice person.

I would like to say that this “two-faced” so-and-so got their comeuppance. Unfortunately that still remains to be seen. Maybe one day they will be found out, but not any time soon, I am thinking. For manipulators are very good at what they do. Manipulating.

They skilfully play one side against the other.

Telling one person one thing, then, completely contradicting themselves to someone else. These manipulators will even do so in print. Easily confident they they will not be caught out they play this game with an adroitness that is almost scary. And more often than not they succeed.

Why? Because all of us who are not manipulators do not want to believe that our fellow man is capable of such chicanery. We all tend to believe the best of the people we meet and greet each day. Until we have been shown the error of our ways, we continue to do so.

If we are lucky enough we can discover who the manipulators are in our lives and sever ties with them.  For that is the only way to deal with this type of person. The answer is to cut off relations of any type. You cannot trust someone who has no qualms at attempting to do you harm to get ahead. If you are fortunate enough to discover who is manipulating you act immediately.

Start cutting.