There’s something to be said about characters ultimately being undone by their greatest strengths – we do see this all the time in real life. McCain the gambler who gambles and loses. for example. Often the quality is a good one – loyalty, for example, or bravery – that can cost someone their career or even their life. Sometimes it’s a small and meager quality, like a sense of duty, that can manifest in triviality and misplacement. I was thinking of this in the most recent version of my doomed screenplay, where the hero turns back, at the last second, to let the dog out of the locked house – the very dog who got him into that bad mess in the first place, a dog to whom he owed nothing, really – just because he and the dog had been through a lot together and he was a person with a misplaced sense of responsibility. He was already punished for this once – by linking himself needlessly with his mental sister – but he never learns. For Myron/Golden, once he has decided to ally himself with someone or something, he sticks to it, no matter what.
A colleague of mine does a similar thing with his attitude. He locks it in, and never changes it, regardless of the circumstances. We can convince ourselves of a reality that does not exist, that could be altered easily by a shift in our perception of it, but that would be too undermining of our self-image. He has decided to by a pessimist about his situation, and there is nothing that can alter it.
You can see yourself as a leader, but then one day you find your leadership position taken from you, quite unexpectedly and immediately, and suddenly you are not that anymore. I remember a transition I once made from store manager to stock clerk. I walked around in a daze for awhile, until I understood that nothing was my responsibility anymore. Eventually, it was liberating. This time around, as my role goes from significant contributor in a small company to minor cog in a giant machine, I need to draw on that experience.
I ran into a red faced man who does not know when to stop talking. He told one embarrassing story after another about his painful youth, while most of the people at the table were strangers and not interested. The lunch went on and on and I was only looking forward to the chance of getting back outside and forgetting everything I’d heard.