25 September 2005

Supporting Slacker

Given enough time and exposure, I think most of us (in places overrun with media) are likely to see moments from our lives on film. For me, it started with some uncannily familiar bits in Sixteen Candles. In 2001, a movie (I don't at present care to name) came out that portrayed the rise and fall of a relationship I'd had more closely than anything else I'd ever seen. And then came Wonderfalls.

With a log line too similar to Joan of Arcadia and shifting time slots, it was doomed to cancellation after 4 episodes in the spring of 2004. I thought it was hilarious and kicked myself for not taping it because the lead felt like a piece of myself; a disaffected, overeducated underachiever. Happily, the DVD boom has given me another chance.
What about friends?

You want to choose people who aren't much more motivated than you are. But don't surround yourself with total narcissists, otherwise things start to be about something other than you.

("Karma Chameleon," ep. 3 of Wonderfalls)

I laughed when I first heard this a year and a half ago, and again when I saw it two nights ago. Today, it feels like a perfect explanation for why some of my friends drive me crazy sometimes. They aren't total narcissists, but they are much more motivated, and things are often not about me. The deplorable word "Sidekick" clunked down in tall letters in my head. I like to think of myself as a lead role, but how could that possibly be so with the hermit lifestyle I've adopted? (Excluding the lead role of Cast Away.)

Some time ago my friend Cathy pointed out that though I may not be the center of the universe, I'm the center of my universe. That counts for something.

I thought of supporting actors, big deals in their own rights come award nights, and found myself less bothered by the idea. "Supporting" is a more apt title for me anyway. Then for a time likely to be short, my place in the world became clear to me. I offer my friends whatever I can to help them achieve their dreams even if it's only supreme confidence in their abilities and talents, while I remain submerged in as stress-free an environment as I can maintain. I am a supporting slacker.

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