I could tell immediately something was wrong.

There's a little dance, a little hesitation, quick glances down the hallway, and a shortness of breath that insinuates a need to confess of sorts.

What's wrong dude?

Wait . . . Dad?


Wait . . . so a while ago, I was on YouTube, and I was just watching this video on Portal, and, then, at the beginning, there was this picture of a white ball with a bloody face on it, and it just popped out of nowhere, and I can't get it out of my head.

Wait . . . Wilson? Are you talking about Wilson?

Who's that?

Was it a volleyball and did the face look like a hand print?

Yu yu yu yu yeah. huh.

Dude, that's just Wilson. He's from a movie, Cast Away.

I thought he was a demon who popped out wherever.

No dude, he's Tom Hanks' friend in the movie Cast Away.

But why's he all bloody?

Well, okay, so Tom Hank's is stranded on an island and he has to start a fire, so he rubs a couple of pieces of wood together like this:

{Me miming Tom Hanks starting a fire}

But it takes a really long time and he gets a blister on his hand. Do you know what a blister is?

Uh huh. Like a cut.

No not exactly, but kinda. So the blister pops and Tom Hanks get angry and grabs a volley ball and throws it into the jungle. Then he notices that his hand print has made something that looks like a face on the front of the ball. So because he's all alone, he starts talking to the face like he's his friend and he calls him Wilson. The ball becomes his best friend for years while they are together on the island, and then it gets really sad because Tom Hanks builds a boat and sails away from the island and then there's this big storm and Wilson falls off the boat and disappears. It's one of the saddest parts of any movie ever.


Here. {I grab my iPad and look up images of Wilson. Thanks Google.} Is this what you saw?

Yu yu yu yu yeah.

Yeah dude, that's just Wilson.


See, no need to worry.


And that was pretty much that. In fact, cause it was bed time, rather than reading a story or falling asleep in front of the TV, he wanted me to tell him the whole story of Cast Away since we couldn't find our copy of the DVD. (I don't think it survived one of our last media purges.)

I did dance lightly over the plane crash, and omitted Helen Hunt entirely, but it made a nice little bed time story with a somewhat happy ending.

I say somewhat, because I firmly believe that the moment when Wilson drifts off into the vast Pacific Ocean, it is like one of the saddest moments ever caught on film. If I were to work a top list into today's blog it would be when the gun goes off on Old Yeller, Jenny dying on a Tuesday, Sophie's final decision, the brothers bleeding to death on a park bench at the end of Red Dawn, and Tom Hanks apologizing to a volleyball.

I'm sure there are others. Tell me about the bunny rabbits again, George, and when Mr. T somehow causes Burgess Meredith to have a heart attack, but you know, that's just crossing hairs.

But the idea of context was what was really on my mind today.

See, if you're eight and you've never seen Cast Away, and someone suddenly shows you a picture of a bloody hand print on a volleyball, there's really no reason for you to think it's anything other than a demon that pops out at you.

The mind will just start to make things up.

Fill in all the blanks until a full story emerges.

And, is it more than just pessimism to suggest that the story is always a terrible one?

Calvin falls asleep on the couch and kicks a wine glass off one of the end tables and all I could think about in the middle of the night with the sound of shattering glass is that someone just broke in and I have to kill some one and why don't I have a baseball bat?

Part of that is some over active anxiety, but, a big part of that is survival instinct.

The Homo Erectus that doesn't conjure images of lions at the sound of a snapping twig, gets eaten nine times out of ten.

It's very possible that we're just simply hard wired for aggressively terrible conclusions.

Learning how to untangle the mess the modern amygdala makes is a lifetime pursuit.

But it's a worthwhile one. Once you get passed something, something being your own imagination, and see things at face value, you start to have courage and faith and that icky feeling in the pit of your stomach disappears and your voice has authority and your spine seems to, well, grow a spine.

Yet the real conclusion isn't just about facing fear.

See, I've been throwing myself out into the big bad world a lot.

Which has lead to a substantial amount of rejection.

And an even bigger amount of indifference.

Which can be much much, much much worse.

So much worse, that it is nearly impossible not to jump to the conclusion that everything I've ever created is terrible, and I'm just a clown of a man.

Which, when you think about it, is no less ridiculous than worrying about a bloody faced monster popping up down the hall.

But who's to criticize anything down a darkened hallway five minutes before bedtime?

Or to feel a sense of self worth when you're told by a major music producer that Selina Gomez would never sing "change is difficult, but my heart is reeling" as if you have any idea what that means.

Too cheesy or too complicated?

I don't know.

Never will.

Don't have to.

As long as I continue to remind myself, that most likely, my bloody demons are nothing more than props.

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