Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wishin' I Was A Bit More Like "Karl"

One character that I have never really identified with is Karl from "Sling Blade". It has been years since I have seen that movie but for some reason today I looked up a quote and I think this one kind of sums up how I wish I felt and reacted to the negatives in life, church, government and the dysfunctions of society as a whole.

Frank Childers: I told you I ain't got no boy, now why don't you get on outta here and let me be. You ain't no kin to me.
Karl: I learned to read some. I read the Bible quite a bit. I can't understand all of it, but I reckon I understand a good deal of it. Them stories you and Mama told me ain't in there. You ought not done that to your boy. I studied on killing you. Studied on it quite a bit. But I reckon there ain't no need for it if all you're gonna do is sit there in that chair. You'll be dead soon enough and the world 'll be shut of ya. You ought not killed my little brother, he should've had a chance to grow up. He woulda had fun some time.

To me, Frank represents the "system", take your pick, that denies the issues they have caused. It is always easier to point at the previous generation, the next generation or the thing you compete against. In some ways I suspect, perish the thought, that there is a little bit of Frank in all of us. Ultimately, refusing to accept responsibility is sometimes as painful to others as the original crime itself.
Karl seems a bit slow...OK, a lot slow. But Karl also speaks truth, a good bit of the time has some wisdom to share and despite many reasons not to be, he is good. He has what he has and is who he is in part due to the System (Frank) and in part because he has chosen another path.

In my opinion, Karl's statement is full of wisdom.
***I love that Karl feels that he can navigate the Bible enough to make sense of it but doesn't even begin to think that he has it figured out. He does the best he can with what he has...and amazingly, he trusts in what he has, or at least what he has accepted to that point. How easy would it make life if I could just accept where things are and operate with boldness out of my current position, never tempering life because of what may one day be?
***Karl recognizes lies told to him by others. He is also willing to point them out. It is great how Karl just speaks what he feels to be true and leaves it at that.
***I like that Karl feels angry, damn angry! And I like that he weighs his response with the Bible. I think it is interesting that Karl decides not to kill Frank...not because he doesn't deserve to be killed, but because he isn't doing anything productive-negative or positive- anyway. Perhaps my anger towards apathy should be relief that the apathy is preventing further harm.
***Karl recognizes that nothing lasts forever and the life that he thinks is pathetic will end soon enough...and the world will be better for it. Like or not, PC or not, this world is a bit brighter when some people die or are killed. Nothing on this Earth lasts forever...including the horrible people.
***Karl also seems to mourn the loss of life, the loss of potential. Even Karl recognizes that as tough as things are sometimes, "He woulda had fun some time". I am increasingly convinced that life isn't as much about the hand you are dealt or even how you play the hand, but is instead the attitude you have about the game. Karl, despite his feelings toward Frank, despite his loss and the loss of potential life, knows that life can be fun sometimes.

Here's to hoping that I become a little more like Karl and a little less like Frank today.

No comments: