Monday, January 26, 2009

Help others be who they are

Over the years I've had a few favorite TV programs. I used to love Thursday night Must See TV on NBC! At various times the lineup included programs such as Cheers, Night Court, The Cosby Show, Wings, Family Ties, Frasier, Seinfeld, Friends, etc. Ah... the good old days!

But in the late 90's one NBC program in particular really captured me, and it aired on Saturday nights. The Pretender. Oh man, I loved that show! In our married life, it became the first program my wife and I watched together religiously. A few years after the show was canceled, I would watch reruns in syndication on another channel at 6am as I got up to do some at-home work for the radio station I worked at. And now... I have 3 of the 4 seasons on DVD!

The Pretender was a program in which a grown man, Jarod, had escaped from The Centre... a secret organization that had kidnapped him as a child and exploited his genius, using him in running simulations for their not-so-good purposes. But after escaping, Jarod began using what he had learned over the years as a means to help people. He would "pretend" to be a police officer, a pilot, a race car driver, an FBI agent... or whatever it took to bring justice to someone who had done wrong to someone else.

There are plenty of applications I could make about Jarod's life. He was a man who could be whoever he wanted to be - but yet he didn't know who he was. Maybe I'll get into that sometime. However, this post isn't about that, but rather about a particular episode that I watched the other day on DVD. As a side-plot in this episode, Jarod had moved into a roach-infested apartment building in which one of his neighbors was always playing musical instruments - very badly! The man had been 'practicing' for years but it hadn't helped at all. The other neighbors were always pounding on the walls and shouting for the man to stop playing and making those terrible noises. The man was basically a grump, and he simply shouted back and kept on playing.

But Jarod, instead of complaining to the man, befriended him - to the man's surprise - and won him over, and had some great conversations with him. Near the end of the program Jarod noticed some small decorative instruments in the man's apartment, that were made out of glass. Jarod asked the man if he had made them, and he said he had. With great wisdom and gentleness, Jarod pointed out to the man that perhaps his "art" was not in playing musical intruments, but rather was in creating these beautiful glass decorations. It had never dawned on the man that perhaps music wasn't his thing...

It's probably not too hard to see where I'm going with all this. :)

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