The Piecemeal Man (abmann) wrote,
The Piecemeal Man

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Here's a question to all of you (both of you) that read this journal. What does respect mean to you? I wondered about respect today after seeing Big Fish (Ever notice how I use italics for all proper titles? Who knows MLA? Not me. It was good. I really liked it. The big problem I have with it after one watching is that it was perfect. Too perfect. I know that if I watch it again there will be something that just gets me to love this movie less. I really think that Tim Burton has produced a marvel, especially when set adjacent to (juxtaposed) his other work. Edward Scissor Hands is really the only thing comparable because it had color and vibrancy; however, the focus was clearly on the darker nature (not as in sinister) of the main character and the darker (as in sinister) aspects that he brings out of the town. ESH is probably my absolute favorite Burton movie followed by Nightmare before christmas and Sleepy Hollow a close third. Technically though, Burton wrote and produced Nightmare.... but we all know it was his movie.

Back to Fish. I was surprised that Danny Elfman was the movie's composer. Again, not his type of movie. His music is more... dead... (more like undead) and powerful than this movie would seem to want. However, I barely even noticed the score. I'm used to Elfman's music being an adjunct character if not an adjudicator in a thematic arena. The music was understated, whimsical, and perfectly tuned to evoke emoition with a minimum of actually aural awareness.

Short story (as Mona would say): Big Fish = hot.

I think an important theme in the more is respect, how the son respects his father. I won't go into it for those that have not seen it. Suffice it to say it made me question what respect meant to me.

Very recently a friend callously ate half of one of my Christmas presents while I was out of time. (I left it at his place so I didn't have to lug it between Chicago, Berkeley and Beloit). It wasn't the matter of him eating it, it was more the matter that he didn't ask. When I found out and confronted him he said he had only eaten a handfull. At this point I hadn't seen the jar. He very well could have only eaten that much. I told him I forgave him but not to do it again because it's disrespectful. It was not his to eat and it meant something special to me. lady_fox's mom gave those to me and she is fairly poor. I was thrilled and honored, frankly, that she scrimped to buy me a litre of cashews (lotsa cashews). When I got back, there was a little over a cup of cashews left.

He ate half a litre of cashews. No respect for it.

Respect, as I think I see it, is thinking of other's feelings when doing something that affects them. I don't mean the "I respect you" type of respect. That's to hold in high esteem. I mean consideration of others... Golden rule, deeply philosophical kindergarten sort of respect. The "I do not wish to tread on your toes for they are your toes" respect. To me, considering the other people around you (and things that extend to them [like cashews]) is probably the most important sort of respect.

Frankly, I don't care if people hold he in high regard (respect me, if you will). Regardless of where people reside in my social, political, emotional, spiritual (et cetra, et cetra) esteem, I will always consider their toes. Like, I will hold doors so they don't slam on my floor if I know a person is sleeping even if I don't like them. If I want to use some one's dish, I will seek them out to borrow it, clean it, and return it promptly. These things are not mine to take without proper acquiescence. It is this respect that I demand from people because I give it without asking.

In the previous instance mentioned, not only was respect not had but I was robbed the chance to enjoy a gift that embodied the meaning of giving. Sigh. I'm not sure if a proxy bottle of cashews would do anything; really I'm sure it wouldn't. What I really want is a sincere apology (or the chance to really yell at him, which really wouldn't solve anything) and a promise that he won't do it again (he does that to Fox as well). Well, now that we all know who it is....

--Back to the mundane--

Berkeley was amazing. Seeing my father's family all together for this first historical time was fantastic. My father became more human, my aunts less rock and/or Theresa-like (as in Strike). My Uncle continues to be the man that I want to be like: strong, supportive, emotive; with a strong helping of my father: serene, charming, acerbic (as in wit).

The worst part of the trip is that there are now pictures of me wearing a cheese hat. My sister has a boy friend, Rolf (he's Swedish). He has only ever heard of the Cheese Hat phenomenon having only really been in New York for his graduate studies. He told my sister, much to my father's chagrin, that he wanted a Cheese Hat to better understand the Midwestern "je ne sais quoi". My father purchased one, as well as a John Deer hat as an extra cultural artefact. My Aunt was so amused that she had myself, my father, and my sister wear the hat and pose for a picture (they had to hold me down until I could fight no more). Family of cheese heads. I'll upload them eventually.

A very nice part of the trip was learning that my recently deceased grandmother (from Alzheimer complications) left me a trust. My father called it "play money." I hope that one day I can call that pretty sum of money just "play money." So, much of it is stowed away for future moving expense and the rest is turning into a refurbished (this in particular has never been removed from the box, actually, just returned unopened) G3 ibook. I salivate.....

To summarize, Berkeley was a deeply moving experience. It has very radically altered my perspective of my family. I'm know them much better after those five days than I learned in all my previous years. In this way, all aspects of the respect I had for them gas grown at least two-fold....

And I depart having pulled a thread through this whole entry.

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