Tag: personalities

Immitation of life

Last night, I caught Jarhead on HBO and afterward found myself thinking that I wanted to be a Marine. Don’t get me wrong, this is not unique to either the movie, or the subject of the film. I often find myself wishing I was whatever it was that I was just watching on some interesting show. I wonder, though, if this is a common phenomenon (at least one that people will admit to). Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • When I watch any of the Rocky movies, I find I want to be a boxer
  • When I watch The Office I tell myself I want to be just like Jim Halpert (especially when he thinks up the clever practical jokes
  • When I watch Smallville I want to be Superman
  • If I watch a movie about lawyers, I want to be a lawyer; if I watch a movie about astronomers, I want to be an astronomer
  • When I watch House, I want to be just like Gregory House
  • When I watch Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers I find myself wishing I was an E Company soldier fighting in World War II

I suppose that well written film and television are supposed to have this effect on people, but I never hear anyone talk about it. As far as I know, I am the only person in the world who has ever admitted to these feelings of imitation. Do other people think like this?

What’s more is that I find myself doing this with my writing as well. If I have been reading Harlan Ellison stories, what I write shortly thereafter will have an attempt at a Harlan Ellison edge to it. If I have been reading a Barry Malzberg story, I’ll try writing something that has a Malzberg feel to it. Same for Bradbury. Or Asimov.

It has made me wonder if I have any personality of my own, or if I am just jumble of imitations and impressions I get from my reading and TV watching and movie watching. Sometimes I am hyper-conscious of this and other times I am completely unaware of it. Regardless, the feelings are fleeting; they last for a little while and then they drift off, replaced by feelings of imitation for the latest show or movie.

So don’t worry, I didn’t run out and join the Marines after watching Jarhead last night. I did get a pretty short “military-style” haircut, though. No, instead of joining the Marines, I thought long and hard about joining some counter-terrorism unit and becoming a super-secret agent. Of course, I had just finished watching the latest episode of 24, but I’m sure that had nothing to do with it.

The low-talker

I’m just back from getting my hair cut and the experience was like something out of Seinfeld.

My hair turned out just fine, but the person cutting it was a low-talker. And I mean a really low-talker. In fact, during the entire time she was cutting my hair, I understood exactly two things that she said. The first was “How do you want your side-burns?” to which I answered “Straight across.” The second was when she told me that my left side was my “good” side. I found this interesting because taped on her mirror was the following legend: “If the left side of your brain controls your right hand, then left-handed people are the only ones in their RIGHT mind.” From this I deduced that the left-handed sense of humor is no better than the right-handed sense of humor.

This woman who cut my hair, an older, grandmotherly type, talked endlessly the entire time she cut my hair and the entire time she washed my hair and except for what I mentioned above, not even a gun to my head could force me to tell you what she said. She simply talked too low for me to hear.

Ken Jennings Slams Jeopardy

Ken Jennings was a kind of hero of mine when I was on his massive winning streak because I thought he demonstrated that the ability to think was different from the ability to memorize. He treated the whole game in a tongue and cheek kind of way, and in the end, took home $2.5 million. Not bad.

Yesterday, on his blog, he slammed Jeopardy! for among other things, the exclamation point in the name of the show. (He also has some interesting points to make about a show of that nature.) Very tongue-in-cheek and very amusing.