CLICK: Fast-Forwarding Through Life

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Tilt.

The movie I saw yesterday struck a nerve—it was a comedy that  had me in tears, and that surprised me. It reminded me of something  I discovered  when my dad was in the Intensive Care Unit several years ago and I got to see a lot of dying patients and see what was important to them at the end of their lives.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

In an effort to spend some fun time with my kids be- fore they left  on their trip, I took Aislinn to see Adam Sandler’s new movie, Click. We both liked the movie but walked out with very different perspectives. As an adult, I found that it meant something far more personal to me than I expected, largely because the first review/synopsis online  seemed  to  misunderstand   a  few  of  the major points I noticed.

Adam Sandler’s  The Wedding Singer with Drew Barry-

more is one of my guilty pleasures, largely because of the great 80’s soundtrack and because I lived so many of the references in the movie. So I was hoping for a little of a repeat, based on the movie trailers, and I loved the premise of a “universal” remote control that lets you “control your  universe”  by  reversing  and fast-forwarding—and freezing time (geez, don’t we need that for the office!). I often like to be spoiled for  movies and wasn’t for this one, and I admit, I didn’t see some of the things coming in this one that I should have (like Mort-y), likely because of my own emotional  state at the time. It’s billed as a comedy,  but  I  found  it  oddly  familiar  in the  universe around me.

The sole review/synopsis  I read alleges  that the re- mote control starts  programming  the protagonist’s  life, but that’s not true. In fact,  Morty (Christopher Walken) says that, point blank. You can’t lie to the remote, even if you lie to yourself or to your family. It just follows the pattern you set. If you program it to skip things, it does. If you program it to fast forward, it does. It makes its future choices based on your past  choices. But ultimately you direct your own life, whether or not you have James Earl Jones commentary or theme music.

Basically, Michael (Adam Sandler) is a dad who can’t manage his busy life and needs a little help. He’s working like a dog, missing weekends and holidays with his family and friends to try to impress an unimpressible  boss, always doing extra in search of that elusive promotion and prosperity and ignoring the things are really important. So when he gets a universal remote from Bed, Bath, and Beyond  (in case  you’ve  always  wondered  what  “beyond” meant), he soon finds that he can watch a scene from his past or fast forward through the bad and the ugly parts of his life…or just the inconvenient.

This is  where  two  premises  in  the  movie  became oddly familiar.

1. During the time Michael is fast-forwarding through the job drudgery or the unpleasant parts of family life, he is physically present but his mind is elsewhere.  I guess I found out what’s wrong  with  men who are “emotional distances”!   Morty explains it as physically  being  on auto-pilot. Getting the work done, taking care of all the physical requirements, but never there emotionally.

I see  so  many  people  everyday  who  are  on  “auto- pilot.” So many.  And that’s exactly what it seems. Just totally disconnected so they don’t have to experience the emotions  of  the  moment,  they  don’t  have  to  feel any- thing—good or bad. They’re going through the motions but not the emotions.

2. The  sense  of  fast-forwarding.  Maybe  this  is  just something that  happens  anyway  as  you  get  older—the sense of time speeding along.  But  I do know that there have been events in the future that I’ve set my sights on and not noticed  enough  about  what  was going  on between where I started and that goal. I lived it, yes, but was running toward the  goal  all the time. Once there at the goal, it was like, wow, yes, it took a long time to get here and this was what I wanted, but where did the time go?

So okay, there’s not a need for me to rush time. It will come plenty fast on its own.

This is a different lesson for me than the live-in-the- moment  discussions. This isn’t about filling up life with garbage just so I can say  it’s full or I’m not waiting on anything/anyone  or sleeping with every man who comes along because that’s someone else’s interpretation  of living in the moment. It’s about not rushing.

Strange that this would hit at the same time I’m still getting  messages  from  my guides to “prepare,  prepare, prepare” for something  that’s coming. All right, already. I’ll keep preparing but I’ll stop rushing toward whatever’s coming.

I wonder  if  those  men  I met    in  the ICU with Daddy felt they’d rushed through their lives. Their families had not been to see them in the ICU and they knew they’d likely never  see their  children again. Without  an exception,  they  all said  they  wished  they’d  spent  more time with the people they loved and with doing the things they loved.

Not a one of them wished for more time pushing paperwork at the office.