Everybody who tells you how to act has whiskey on their breath



“Everybody who tells you how to act has whiskey on their breath.” ― John Updike

Some interactions which I have had with people stick with me like memorable clips from a film. A scene and dialogue which keeps playing in my mind on a loop, the rest of the story lost in time and memory because it didn’t stand out, didn’t hit a chord or a discord like this like bit did.

It’s all there I suppose, the mind does tend to record everything… but where is there? And do I need to retrieve the bits that I don’t recall or are the relevant bits the ones which are recalled?

Sometimes I forget the scene for a while, then it pops up again like a song once listened to many times over, which meant something once, and which returns seemingly out of the blue, part of a soundtrack of a moment in life.

Why did that song or that scene pop up when it did? Is it nostalgia? Is it random? Or does it have a purpose, a message or something along those lines for me? Is it saying that something which is happening now is reminiscent of a past experience, and I need to know this as history is repeating itself and maybe giving me an opportunity to make a few changes to how it plays out this time? Something new is also something old, yet new too?

“Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead. So why, one could say, be afraid of death, when death comes all the time?” ― John Updike

Whenever a scene gets stuck in my head, I know my mind is probably using it as a symbolic representation of something I have yet to figure out. The scene is a picture holding a thousand words, concepts, theories, information and stories within it. It is a problem and a solution.

Perhaps it ties in with a repetitive pattern in my life…

“A yawning repetitiveness as of a man who knows few words but will not stop talking.” ― John Updike

…a theme which I know about, of which it is hard not to be aware as it keeps happening and making itself felt, thought about, seen – NOTICE ME – it screams.

One which I occasionally try to understand, sometimes obsessively, sometimes lackadaisically. A file on my to do pile on my desk which may be partly done but has not been completed due to insufficient data or I simply ran out of steam, early enthusiasm giving way to something or other.


obsession vs disinterest

There’s this one scene which popped up recently from a several years old incident in my life. It was one of those moments when you realise that your version of a relationship and reality is completely different from the other person’s and their version of the relationship and reality is in another universe entirely.

“It is easy to love people in memory; the hard thing is to love them when they are there in front of you.” ― John Updike

It is one of those scenes where someone turns up in your life, doesn’t bother to get to know you but decides they know you better than you know yourself, then proceeds to tell you who you have to be to suit them and if you don’t accept the role then they tell you what is wrong with you because they’re offering you a great chance to have a supporting role in the film of their life, starring them of course. Why would you not want that!?!

“Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face.” ― John Updike

Well, of course, you don’t want a supporting role in their film when you have a starring role in the film of your own life. But they don’t understand that, so they kill your character off, often dramatically, making sure you feel your character’s pain (which is really their pain at your refusal to play along with them and uphold their version of reality over yours) and move on to find someone better to replace you.

Life does not tolerate empty spaces, and thus the space which they leave in your life is soon filled by someone else intent on a similar scenario.

“The world keeps ending but new people too dumb to know it keep showing up as if the fun’s just started.” ― John Updike

And so the whole rigmarole starts again…

…and you search for where you left the remote control, in the hopes that you can use it to pause the scene, maybe change the channel because you’ve seen this scene one time too many and would like to watch something new, different, or if you have to watch the same story play out again then perhaps it will have a surprise or a twist at the end which is worth sitting through the entire film with its predictable plot and formulaic formula of entertainment.

Maybe that surprise or twist will inspire a new approach to something old, making it new and fresh instead of tired and cliched.


I’ve lost the plot of this post, so…

Here’s one of my favourite trailers, a trailer with a twist, for one of my favourite films:

The Minus Man (1999 Trailer) 34th Best Trailer Of All Time