Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monkey bars and "The Soloist"

When my sisters and I were young we used to play on the jungle gym in our back yard. I remember my mom cautioning us to be careful on the monkey bars because if we fell off we could break our neck and be paralyzed. My mom always said that becoming paralyzed was probably just about the worst thing that could happen to a person.

Last night I watched the movie "The Soloist" with Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx. It was wonderful! I thought the acting was fantastic, and it was a true story, so that made the movie even better. The rough gist of the movie is that Nathaniel (Jamie Foxx's character) was a very gifted musician, and he went to Juilliard, but dropped out after two years because he was a schizophrenic and couldn't live a normal life.

20 or 25 years later, Nathaniel was still suffering from schizophrenia and was now homeless. Robert Downey Jr.'s character, Steve Lopez, a reporter for the LA Times, finds Nathaniel and befriends him. He starts writing a very successful newspaper column about Nathaniel while trying to help him get his life back on track.

Anyway, I don't want to say too much more about the movie, but I just thought it was really great. You might be thinking what my story about monkey bars and this movie have in common, so I'll explain. I have to disagree with my mom's thought that breaking your neck and being paralyzed is the worst thing that could happen to a person. I feel incredibly blessed to have a normal mind. After seeing how mental illness ravaged Nathaniel's life and his family, I much rather live as a quadriplegic than a person who is riddled with delusions and voices screaming lies in my head. To me, there are afflictions that are far worse than being paralyzed.


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