Monday, October 20, 2014

Lessons Part 3: Wile E. Coyote

I bet this one comes a a surprise to you.  Maybe it's because I already got you used to comic book characters in my previous posts.  Believe it or not I learned some very valuable lessons from Wile E. Coyote.  If you're unfamiliar with the character (How IS life under that rock by the way?), he's consumed by one goal: to capture and devour the Road Runner.  It's a task that he hilariously fails at repeatedly.  If he ever DID catch Road Runner it wouldn't make for much entertainment now would it.  Anyway, let me get to the point.

1.  The best laid plans don't always work

Wile E. Coyote is a genius.  Granted a super genius.  His plans are thorough, precise and inexplicably well funded (Thanks ACME!).  He only continues to fail at his goal because the universe is set in favor against him. For me though, Wile E. Coyote as a tiny bit of a role model.  See I too am a pretty good planner and I too have watched many a great plan crumble in failure.  That's sort of the way life just works.  We can plan things to a T but then life happens and stomps on your plans the way Rick James would grind his dirty boots into your couch.  You'd think that Wile E. Coyote would be the poster boy for giving up though but....

2. NEVER give up.

He doesn't.  Ever.  When his plan fails and gets shot to hell, he goes back to the drawing board and makes a new plan.  We all know he's going to fail, but he just picks him self right back up and tries again.  You're gonna hate me for this, but I always rooted for Wile E.  In a fair world he would have caught a Road Runner every episode.  The world though is far from fair, but that doesn't mean we should just pack it in and give up.  In fact there's really only one reason (besides the whole being the bad guy thing) that Wile E. never accomplishes his goal.

3.  Keep cool

This is where Wile E. sets himself up for the final failure.  He goes a little nuts, gets a tad obsessive and then pulls out ALL THE STOPS.  So he had a few setbacks.  By the third try or so though he gets a little desperate and goes into overkill mode.  I mean he pulls out plans designed to turn his potential meal into a grease spot.  Had he continued on a sane track, who knows; he might had hit that one plan that works.  The moral of the story: keep cool.  When you lose your cool, things easily go from bad to worse.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lessons Part 2: Spider-man

1.  With great power comes great responsibility

This is the overarching message of the Spider-man.  If you aren't familiar with the character's origin story you must have been living under a rock for the last 20 years but here's the short version.  When Spidey first got his powers he tried to cash in on them (hey, he was in high school).  The event though shorted him so he ended up walking away disappointed and with much less what he was promised.  As he was leaving though he had an opportunity to thwart a robbery of the same people who shorted him but he let the robber go out of spite.  Turns out the robber ended up killing his uncle.  Spidey exacts his revenge and vows to live up to the lesson his uncle was always trying teach him. 

"With great power comes great responsibility" though is an oversimplification of Uncle Ben's message.  Explained further it means that if you have it within your power to do good and make changes for the better you have an obligation to your fellow man to do it.  It kind of takes on new meaning when you get superpowers and that's a good message too.  It was Abraham Lincoln who said:
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
Trust me, it's difficult not throwing your weight around when you have license to do so.  Fortunately I'll always have this lesson I learned from Spidey.

2.  There's nothing glamorous about doing good

Spider-man has another running theme.  He's actually a hair's breath from poverty.  These days he pulls an Avengers salary but he wasn't always living so high on the hog (and honestly I can't even tell you if he's still an Avenger).  There was a time he supported himself by taking pictures of Spider-man in action and letting the paper he sold his pictures to trash Spider-man as a public menace.  Spider-man endured this though because he was doing good and making a difference despite being misunderstood.  What Spider-man did was kind of a metaphor for most average people.  He had all our problems.  He had trouble making ends meet, paying the bills, even keeping a job because he spent so much time in his dual persona.  Despite being Amazing, Spider-man was a lot like you and me.  You and me...can be Amazing. :)