I’ve been meaning to write about a guy I met 21 years ago and with whom I’ve spent a lot of time ever since. He’s a role model of sorts. He loves his family even though he spends a lot of his time doing things – drinking and overeating first and foremost – that demonstrate that the primary object of his love is himself. He doesn’t let facts get in the way of a good story and while he’s been employed at the same job for as long as I’ve known him, he hates his job, his boss, and many of his coworkers. He’s Everyman. He’s Homer.
That’s right – Homer Jay Simpson, the ultimate American. He’s not very tuned in but has an opinion about everything. They are his unshakable beliefs (and a lack of facts is what makes them beliefs!) until he changes his mind. He lives in the moment. But while other families collapse, the Simpsons always make it through the crisis and go on. For all his faults, Homer is devoted to his wife and children (and maybe I’m contradicting myself here by labeling him as the ultimate American given the divorce rate).
There is a rage out there. You may be experiencing it and if you watch the news or read some of the screeds out here on the web, you see it. Homer has it nailed:
“Your lives are in the hands of men no smarter than you or I, many of them incompetent boobs. I know this because I worked alongside them, gone bowling with them, watched them pass me over for promotions time and again. And I say… This stinks!”
Homer also nails the attitude that too many businesses and the folks who run them have about the world:
“You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is ‘never try’.”
So here’s my thought for the day. We all know Homer, or at least we know what he’s all about. Like each of us, he has characteristics we should try to emulate – his child-like wonder about the world, his devotion to his family – and lots of characteristics we should hold as examples of how not to behave – mostly his self-centered stupidity. Ruled solely by his impulses, Homer creates his own realty a lot of the time; joyfully, usually. When we look at Homer we might see ourselves and he’s often a great measuring stick against which to check ourselves both in business and out in the world. He does insanely stupid things sometimes, he fails at many of them, but he never stops trying to better himself and his family. Isn’t that something we’d all like?
“Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything. 14% of people know that.”