February 3rd, 2004

Groundhog Day

Pretty lame as far as holidays go, really.

But as far as movies go – great stuff.

Have you seen it? Bill Murray plays a cynical (typecasting!) reporter who gets to – make that has to – relive Groundhog Day over and over again until he gets it right. The main goal in the movie is for him to see the error of his ways, of course, and it’s all centered around a woman, but what a great gift! We get to see him dabbling in things, once he’s figured out he’ll keep reliving the day – he steps in front of a bus, he gets in a fight with a guy, he does all sorts of stuff.

But he finally gets it right, with no one around him the wiser.

It’s buried inside everyone, I think, this innate sense of “I could do it better if I had another shot at it.” What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time to when you were in fourth grade? How would you convince your fourth grade self to listen to you? Would you rather relive your life with your current knowledge? What would you do differently?

Movies on the topic are never quite right because there’s no way for them to handle the far-reaching consequences. One different decision in fourth grade could change everything else down the road, so all the other advice becomes worthless. Once you picture a branch that splits almost never-endingly, your mind boggles fairly quickly.

These thoughts obviously bring you to present day. What can you do differently right now that would at least approximate what you’d tell your fourth grade self to shoot for? Usually not much. But is there at least something?

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