Jeffrey Allen Mays

Dead Poets Society

Because if you’re ever distraught for some reason, and you happen to be by a pond in a heavy snow storm, you will know how to act. You will leave your friends behind. You will stumble forward in those loose-fitting robes, barking out incoherent falsetto yelps. Because that’s what one does. In that moment. Right?

Or. You will find your own authentic expression. You will reject what Hollywood has tried to teach you. No, you will say. Dead Poets Society, The Movie, will not dictate my life. I will not be a sad sick stupid romantic mime, parroting the silver screen. It may have been a great movie, but it is not me. It is just a movie. When my roommate kills himself I will do what my flesh and bone says I should do. It wont be a shimmering movie scene.

I will get in a shitty car. I will drive to a liquor store and buy a bottle of whiskey and a pack of smokes. And even though I gave up smoking, I will drive to a desolate lot where grackles hop around and the foliage and sandstone bristle with the morbid moment. And I will smoke eight cigarettes in a row and drink whiskey straight from the bottle, because if for no other reason, whiskey and cigarettes exist for those moments. I will breathe fire and huff out smoke like a dragon. I will drink of the divine gift commended in holy scripture for blunting the edge of life’s dark eventualities. And I will toast the memory of the dearly departed, singing his virtues, lamenting his absence, and I will grieve like a man.

And I will strive against all odds to be authentic in that moment, I say against all odds because movies have made us all melodramatic yahoos. Even if I never live to endure a best friend’s suicide, some bad thing will happen. And I will reject every whisper from media that dares to tell me how to act in the moment. And I will do and be what I should and always would have been and done in that moment, before the directors unwittingly deigned to tell me how to be and act in that moment.