Archive for December, 2007


December 28, 2007

Apparently, I don’t feel so good.

Emotional cauterization aside, I guess I just don’t adequately understand the concept of feeling good.  Because, Waitressis supposed to be a feel good movie, but I’m not feeling any better because of it, and I’m not sure who is supposed to be.  I hope that somebody can clue me in.  Truly.  If you can explain this to me, please respond to this blog!

Yes, the director was tragically murdered.  I can see people wanting this to be a legacy to her.  Maybe it is.  I’m just not convinced it’s a feel-good movie.

It’s a grim, gritty, unflinching look at the life of a poor woman married to a controlling and domineering husband.  She works as a waitress, and her gift is making mind-bending, palette-redefining pies.  This is her gift.  She enjoys it.  As does everyone else.  As an aside, this motiff really could have been more prominent throughout the story.  About the second half of the film (I think), pies don’t really enter into the story much at all – particularly in terms of how she thinks.  That’s a shame, because it was a neat little device in the first half.  The transition to the letter-to-my-unborn-daughter motiff is far less effective, if able to convey things much easier.

So she’s in an unhappy marriage.  Her boss is unappreciative.  She has difficult customers.  She has good friends in her two co-workers.  She has an affair with a married man.  She’s pregnant by her husband and is unhappy because the baby is another nail holding her down in her life with her husband, when she has dreams of running away and escaping from him. 

Then she has the baby.  I won’t spoil the film, but it’s billed as a feel-good movie, so you can assume that, since the rest of the film is largely devoid of healthy good feelings, there are some good feelings in the last 10 minutes or so.

But who’s feeling good?  Jenna, the main character, is the obvious answer.  It just seems so contrived.  So untrue to the very realistic first 95% of the film.  And in the meantime, her husband (admittedly a poor husband by a long shot) sure isn’t feeling good.  Neither is the married man she has an affair with.  Yet despite all of this, we’re supposed to feel good coming out of the theater that she surmounted the odds to make good for herself and her new baby. 

I dunno.  I don’t get it.  Please explain it to me.  Somebody.  Anybody.


December 19, 2007

As part of the many transitions of this year, my wife and I are re-evaluating our life insurance. 

I struggle with the concept of life insurance in the first place.  I struggle with the whole fear-oriented approach that justifies and encourages the purchase of life insurance. I have similar difficulties (though different specific issues) with retirement planning and all of the other financial transactions that are considered de rigeur by middle and upper class America. It doesn’t help any that our life insurance is through a fraternal organization that serves our particular denomination. 

I’ll say at the outset that we have a wonderful, sweet representative that we like a great deal and are happy to work with.  But I still get the heebie-jeebies at going through this stuff.

Not because mortality particularly scares me.  While I’m much less eager for it than I might have been in my younger days, it doesn’t particularly scare me.  I know what lies beyond.  I have a promise better than any life insurance policy you can buy.  So I don’t worry about my death.  Which is fine, because a good life insurance agent won’t try to get you worried about death from your perspective.  They’d much rather get you worrying about what happens to your family after you’re gone.

This is admittedly a good selling point.  We’re blessed by God’s providence and some basic financial common sense to have no debt.  My wife works at home raising our three children.  My salary meets all of our temporal needs and even allows us to save for the future.  We live simply, but happily.  We lack nothing.

So what would happen to my wife and children if I kick the bucket?  Would I want my wife to have to go out and work to support herself?  Put the kids in daycare?  The picture is not a pleasant one.  Our rep, while sweet and wonderful, duly painted this picture.  How long would I want to provide for my wife and kids after my death?  Five years?  Ten years?  When would I want my wife to have to support herself?

Sheesh.  Talk about a guilt trip.  Talk about an expensive guilt trip!

How does life insurance fit into the overall idea of not worrying about what tomorrow will bring?  How does life insurance fit into the concept of give us this day our daily bread?  How does it fit into the idea of each person working and not having idle hands?  How does it fit into the idea of each sharing what they have, so that no one is in need?

I own life insurance.  I may even be buying a little more shortly.  But it makes me queasy in fundamental parts of me, and I want to try and figure out whether that queasiness is important to act on.  Or to refrain from acting on.  How do I fulfill my obligations to the family God has given me, when God is the one that determines when I leave this world? 

It hurts my head to think about it.  But not nearly as much as it hurts my spirit to ignore the issue.