A Comedy or a Tragedy

I don’t have an enormous DVD collection and this is by design. I decided a long time ago, only movies that hold a special place in my heart will be added to my personal collection. Steel Magnolias (I quote lines from it on a weekly basis), Fried Green Tomatoes, Sense and Sensibility with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson, Braveheart and The Patriot, About Time (a must see), the four and a half hour BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, the remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Return to Me, Good Will Hunting, Hook, An Unfinished Life, Mr. Holland’s Opus (on my must buy list since VHS is a thing of the past), and the list goes on. These are like special friends and I feel like a heel right now because I didn’t mention all of their names.

One movie I return to over and over again is Stranger Than Fiction. Every time I curl up on the couch to watch it, I see things I never noticed before which further endears me to this film. Below is a trailer for the movie to give you a quick idea of what it’s about.

The entire premise of the movie is absolutely brilliant. The idea of a writer discovering that the fictional character she has been creating isn’t really fictional at all makes everything she writes of value and great importance. Anyway, in the film, Harold Crick solicits the help of a college English professor played by Dustin Hoffman to come up with a way to stop his impending death currently being planned by the author, and the professor decides that Harold first needs to figure out whether his story is a comedy or a tragedy – if a comedy, then a good ending and if a tragedy, well you get it. For the next several days, he keeps a journal, making tally marks in the tragedy verses comedy columns based on the circumstances of his day. His mood changes depending on the tally count. At the close of the test, he determines his life is indeed a tragedy, so his death is almost a certainty.

Circumstances really do impact our lives and it’s easy to give them power over how we view our day, our week, and our lives as a whole. We tally the events of the day, and in the end, whichever column has the most marks determines whether it’s a tragedy or a comedy, a good day or a terrible one, a waste or worth every minute.

I would like to challenge the tally mark mentality. I find, when I evaluate a day by a collection of experiences, I am missing the now, the moment I am in. Focusing on a overall judgment concerning my day diminishes each and every second I am experiencing in the present.

Our stories can’t be judged as good or bad because our stories are taking place in the NOW. Right this minute, as you live and breath, your story is being written. Yesterday is behind you and tomorrow is out of your grasp. You only have now. Don’t be focused on how you will evaluate it once it’s over because then it will be out of your reach. Be in the moment.

Is my story a comedy? Sometimes it feels like it and I really like it when it does. Is my story a tragedy? It has had some incredible heartache and loss and at the time, it felt crushing. Right now, I’m evaluating less and living more. Some moments are better than others, but with every moment I am living my story.

For now, I will leave the evaluating to the critics that read my story when I am long gone.

31 dAYS



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