The Will Smith and Chris Rock In All of Us

We’re damaged people
Drawn together
By subtleties that we are not aware of
Disturbed souls
Playing out forever
These games that we once thought we would be scared of

-Depeche Mode

 

We’re all damaged people.  Family and friends, neighbours and co-workers, lovers and strangers.  The damage is literally everywhere.

We start off with our inherited imperfections at birth, and then life’s experiences begin to pile on. The things we don’t fully understand and can’t properly articulate, that make us angry, afraid, nervous, mean, irrational,

In all my years as a criminal defence lawyer, I could have benefitted from having an expert psychologist by my side, to better understand our clients and their actions. What happened to you? How did you get to this point? And of course, Tell us about your mother.

For the most part, we don’t have the ability to ask and answer these questions of ourselves, or if we do, we often just can’t bare to get into it.

Maybe I’ve just been reading too much Stephen King lately.  His collection of stories in “Different Seasons” include two that were made into movie classics, The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me.  “Disturbed souls” are to be found everywhere in these novellas, no one is unscathed.

In truth, “damaged” isn’t the right word to describe us. If we’re all damaged in one way or another, then isn’t it really just part of being human?  My father used to love the line, “I’m sorry, I’m only human.”, as if it were a free pass for all transgressions.  He should have been a defence lawyer, or better yet, a forgiving God.

Which brings us to the Oscars.  How does an experienced and trained actor like Will Smith, knowing that the cameras are rolling, millions are watching, and anticipating the greatest award of his career, lose it like that? 

My first thought was that our Maple Leafs sure could use someone like him in the playoffs, righting any wrongs against our superstar players with that iconic Canadian action, the hockey glove face wash.

My next thoughts were, What happened to Will Smith?  How did he get to that point?

 And how about the lesser discussed Chris Rock aspect of the story? In the past Rock has said he was badly and repeatedly bullied and assaulted as a child. One day, he finally retaliated by putting a brick in a book bag, brutally avenging one of his tormentors, almost killing him.

Rock says he has had a long-time therapist helping him through this childhood trauma.  The counsellor tells him, “You have been scared to be angry ever since. This guy brought something out in you and you’re so scared of that thing coming out of you again that you let the whole world walk all over you.”

When Smith walked up to Rock at the Oscars, Rock smiled and leaned his face out towards Smith.  And Smith smacked him hard. The whole world walked all over him again.

Rock barely reacted and the show went on. He hasn’t said much about it since, except that he is “still processing” what happened. 

Will Smith and Chris Rock.  All of us.  Damaged people and disturbed souls drawn together, playing out these games forever.

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