Thursday, September 17, 2009

There is a scene from Men In Black ('95 or '96? '97? Anyway..) where Tommy Lee Jones clandestinely (surreptitiously?) uses the Company's satellites to check in on the woman he left behind in his past life in order to pursue the truth behind the Universe and Everything. And aliens.

Digression: Is it just me or is it easier to remember the name of the actor rather than the role protrayed?

Anyway, Will Smith approaches, catches TLJ in the act and quips (and I'm pretty sure this is a paraphrase),

"You know what they say; It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

To which Jones replies,

"You should try it some time."

Given that it was a comedy film, it's understandable that the acceptable audience reaction would be along the lines of thinking, wow this guy's a badass, and he's sentimental. But what makes me remember this scene so vividly (and it's not the repeated viewings over the years) is the expression on TLJ's face as he looks at his abandoned love and, following that, the way or inflectionof voice in which he rebuked Smith's line. Almost reactionary and angry in nature, but composed and cool in the delivery. Classic Tommy Lee.

It's heartbreaking. But in the context of the movie, it was a necessary sacrifice, and one that isn't given much emphasis in later scenes (though it is addressed in the somewhat lesser sequel [though to be fair, I didn't see MIB2 half as many times as the first]); in order to protect the galaxy, and by extension, the lives of the ones they love most, the agents have to disassociate and distance themselves from them. Which leads to a somewhat lonely existence (albeit one which entails many exploding alien heads).

What prompted me to write about this scene in particular? I'm not entirely sure (Fact: even if I was, I'm not sure I'd write it here). Maybe it's just an oblique way of expressing myself by virtue of calling, on cue, fragmented memories of movies or songs. I'm not much of a writer (the output on this blog has suffered during the last couple of years).

Maybe it is apt to quote lyrics or refer to movie scenes to adequately express oneself without necessarily revealing anything. To me, though, it feels insincere. Insincere in the fact that, yes, I'm expressing myself, but at the same time, will anybody get it? By quoting The Shins or Ryan Adams, or hell, Ben Folds, am I really revealing anything at all, or am I just sharing a choice quote? I guess what I'm getting at is, context is everything. Or maybe it isn't even necessary in the first place. Maybe it is enough to say something from some album and expect the intended audience to understand.

Or maybe we could be direct and oblique. Just look at Ben Folds' Break Up Song: "Bitch, I want my money back" (Relax, no, that's not me saying it, I'm just giving an example, really.)

I used to smoke a lot of shisha back in the day (after one particularly bad coughing fit the day after, I kind of took a break from it, and still am). Around the time I was graduating, I was hanging out with some of my closest friends from engineering, and was exhaling this one pretty big cloud of apple scented smoke and thinking to myself: "This is me blowing away every problem I've had up til now. This is me starting afresh. No more hang-ups and no more baggage." Next time your therapist says to project your problems, try this (kidding. There're plenty of healthier options than this.)
Justify Full
But the truth of it is, the kind of liberating buzz I got from that night wore off after a while. We carry our baggage all the time. We go to a new place and expect to reinvent ourselves, but who are we kidding? The old me is still here, just a younger version of who I am now. Our new friends are great and all for hanging out with and having a great time, but you get close enough and sooner or later we end up talking or at the very least skirting around what's been bugging us all these years.

I'll just keep myself busy and focus on my work. A sense of purpose or a little direction helps. Friends do too, old and new alike. Which is why I'm grateful for both.

Over sharing done. I'm going to flood my blog with more music until this post gets buried underneath the good, good sounds of musical catharsis.

Oh, right. Eid Mubarak, folks!

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