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May 11th, 2010


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12:21 am - This Post May Contain Adult, Content
Today we had a departmental off-site, and we all had to answer the question "Who inspires you, and why?" Now, I am a very uninspired person, so it was difficult for me to come up with someone. All I knew was that I was not going to name a family member, which is what 61% of the 88 people did (yes, I counted).

"Some of the contenders for this spot included Veronica Mars, Daredevil, and Batman," I began, inciting laughter, "because I'm more inspired by fictional characters than real people." Which brought on more laughter, because somehow that's funny, as if stories don't have power. "But I decided to go with comic book writer and artist David Mack. In his series Kabuki, which is about a ninja assassin who goes through a journey of introspection"—more laughs—"he says that we're all part of a collective consciousness. Not in a New Age, 'we are all one' way, but in the sense that we all, as individuals, have a personal responsibility to communicate and share our ideas. Each person has a voice, and we have to contribute; it's the only way to move forward as a society, as a race. We're all part of the culture. And I really connected with that, as someone who wants to leave his mark on the world. We can all leave our mark."

Then it went back to stories about grandmothers overcoming adversity and special cancer patients. My favorite answer came from a woman who said it was going to sound weird, but she was inspired by...the Bill of Rights. (Also: the scientific method. I decided she was awesome. Turns out, she had turned to a co-worker and declared, "I'm such a freak! I'm on another planet!" And then when she heard me start talking about Daredevil and Batman, she said, "Oh! Someone else is on my planet!") Coming in second was the man who was inspired by two red robins protecting their nest.

At the reception, the VP said he really liked my answer. He said I was a "deep thinker."

The first thing he said to me, though, was "This is going to sound weird, but...you've grown up." He started at the company just a few months after I joined and is one of the few people who's been able to observe my growth in the last four years.

It's strange, but this is the third time I've gotten this sentiment recently. At the AMWA conference, an old woman commented, "You look older." She meant it as a compliment. And last month as I was driving Hec home from the train station, he said that I looked so much more professional and mature than I had when he met me four years ago as a recent grad student.

I don't really know what's changed. It's odd to think that I've grown up and become an adult without realizing it.
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
Current Music: Sunny Day Real Estate - Faces in Disguise

(14 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:spectralbovine
Date:May 11th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
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When I started naming fictional characters, the first one that came to her mind was...Buffy! I'm going to enjoy working with her.
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From:equustel
Date:May 11th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
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Which brought on more laughter, because somehow that's funny, as if stories don't have power.

Ah, I'm right there with you. I get the laughs as well, though I don't know why. Fictional characters embody ideals! Real people are way too murky in that department. Although David Mack is one of the less murky ones. Good choice. ;]

And you win so many cool points just for mentioning Daredevil. High five!
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From:spectralbovine
Date:May 11th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
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OH, MATT.

Fictional characters embody ideals! Real people are way too murky in that department.
Exactly! Real people are complicated. Fictional characters are also complicated, but in specific, calculated ways.
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From:skogkatt
Date:May 11th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC)
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I like your answer. Perhaps you are getting that reaction because you are more comfortable in your skin, and confident in your ability to do the work you do, and in the validity of liking the things you like.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:May 11th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
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Having confidence is WEIRD.
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From:skogkatt
Date:May 11th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC)
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But also awesome! Uri Borechka approves.
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From:stephl
Date:May 11th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)
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Which brought on more laughter, because somehow that's funny, as if stories don't have power.

I'm right there with you. (Which shouldn't be surprising.) Why *shouldn't* fictional characters have power?

Also, w/r/t the "P-C is growing up!" sentiment, at some point during the "Dude, wear this necklace" debacle, I really wanted to tell your family to just back off because you might not be ready to get married now, but you're absolutely busy becoming someone who is going to make an outstanding husband when (or if) you *are* ready.

I hope that makes sense.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:May 11th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
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I'm right there with you. (Which shouldn't be surprising.) Why *shouldn't* fictional characters have power?
What is the point of creating them if they don't? Like equustel says above, they embody ideals.

I hope that makes sense.
It does. Aw, thanks. I don't think they see me that way, though. I'm not an adult unless I get married. Oh, and unless I call my parents every week. And all my aunts and uncles. And go to Indian functions and make Indian friends.
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From:hecubot
Date:May 11th, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC)
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I think the self-confidence is the most notable part. When I first met you, Younger!Sunil was a callow constellation of enthusiasms and neuroses very loosely tied together. You're better knit together now.

People tend to use the word integrity as a simple synonym for ethical but I try to retain the sense of being integrated. Your interests and your ethics are very efficiently converted into your actions and your friendships. You've really come into your own: a good man, a fine friend, excellent at your job, thoughtful, kind and my daughter thinks you're hilarious.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:May 11th, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC)
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You're better knit together now.
In college, I felt like I grew into myself, like I barely recognized the person I was in high school. In grad school, I learned there was more growing for me to do. It seems that each stage of my life, I come closer to who I'm supposed to be.

my daughter thinks you're hilarious.
BUNNY SPOON!
From:dotificus
Date:May 12th, 2010 12:46 am (UTC)
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::refrains from saying "Aw, Sunny.::

The people laughing at inspiring fictional characters have no imagination. I'm currently re-reading Stephen King's Danse Macabre and he makes a great point about how the work of imagination is easy-peasy for children-- they can lift the heavy weight of world-building, etc. easily. But that many adults lose this, for whatever reasons. And that when he meets someone who says they can't stand fantasy, sci-fi, or whatever because they're only interested in "real" stories, he thinks, oh poor thing, you've lost your imaginative ability.
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From:ethanvahlere
Date:May 12th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
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If people think having fictional characters as inspiring is weird of funny, you can tell them people like Nat Hentoff and Quentin Tarantino don't think so. Hentoff wrote a book for teenagers called The Day They Came to Arrest the Book (about censorship, natch), and one of the characters has a father who thinks of books as his friends, and a former librarian who feels the same way about Dickens characters. And, of course, Tarantino thinks of characters in movies like Dazed and Confused as his friends.

Hey, I'm in my early 40's, and I still don't feel quite grown-up. I always feel funny at the store when a parent is there with their kids, and they tell their kids to give the movie to the "man." I always want to turn around to look for him.
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From:soundingsea
Date:May 12th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
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Aw, our very own Cow is all grown up! :)

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