Why Jennifer Aniston and I Are Two Peas in a Pod (And Other Ramblings of a Nostalgic)

1. We both have Pieces of Flair, myself at Marc Glassman Inc. (I have 3 at my store, so I win); she in Office Space (arguably one of the top 10 movies of all time)

2. The Good Girl brilliantly captured the nefarious quirks of retail/grocery life existentialism

supermarket grocery retail jennifer aniston

3.  She also endured estrangement from her mother, but ultimately reconciled after 9 years. She’s got me beat by 7, but verdict still pending in the Curious Case of Byron Fernandez

jennifer aniston office space good girl movies film pop culture

Which leads to my next topic: Where is the Love?

Truly, I do my best to avoid rants. But I can no longer contain the implacable itch — it’s just too enticing. After a decade of working in myriad customer service, retail and restaurant settings throughout the country, you get to the point where it seems like there’s few colors, shapes and temperaments of the human condition you haven’t had the pleasure (or misfortune) of encountering. It’s certainly cathartic to vent — given the right time, place and outlet of course.

It’s appalling to see the effect of what seemingly insurmountable pressures and frenetic pace of life can have on a human being. I frequently find myself wondering how we can be so insensitive, so disembodied as to reach the point where cavalier disregard for others’ plights becomes standard. There is real pain out there, a brokenness and disillusionment that is often so thick and heavy it’s heartbreaking, demoralizing and unnerving.

Our experience with family, friends and in dating is no exception — and for those who can relate, this is often one of the greatest sources of pain in life. But we’re Alive, and we’re human. And we are all connected.

Personal experience aside, this is where I take issue: ineffectual, uninspired, incompetent and disingenuous leadership, which pervades our homes and follows us into the workplace, ministries and ultimately local and nuclear communities which we inhabit. It is evident in the attitudes and rhetoric of our social and cultural circles, evident in mainstream media and the political discourse of our leaders — and what’s worse, many of us clearly lack the Will to delve deep enough to find and create alternative, compelling and sustainable solutions.

Solutions grounded in passion, decency and commitment toward something bigger than ourselves. As Stephen Covey so aptly says it, private victory precedes public. Pop culture is like high school all over again — people care more about others’ approval and acceptance than their own accountability to themselves, and what can proactively be done to become better individuals and subsequently communities. We can be selfish survivalists and inconsiderate tools, or we could slow down and simply Be/listen with someone every now and then.

It is human nature to pine for validation. But there’s a difference between mere desire and drive; fear and fire. In order to become what we long for, awareness must precede action. It’s a question of motive. Once awareness is acted upon, acknowledgment may or may not come. If and when external validation does occur, it’s natural to celebrate — but even more so a reminder to keep moving forward and find something better to do. It’s counterproductive to linger and dwell for too long.

Motive is pure when energy, discipline and resolve continue — even and especially when no one is watching. When talent abates, as Nietzsche liked to say. When we stop showing one another what we can do…

One of my favorite academic and motivational clichés goes like this: The only place where SUCCESS comes before WORK is in the dictionary. Often it’s the simplest notions that leave a lasting impression with us. Having the right motive keeps you from manipulating others, and builds rapport because people will find it easier to like and trust you.

Shameless self-promotion, beanbag inertia and brown-nosing or begging might produce short-term results, but where will you go from there? And why is it necessary? Good is never good enough, and better isn’t as powerful as best. What if we changed the stories we told ourselves, and challenged ourselves and others everyday to be unreasonably fair, unreasonably decent and true and kind?

Chivalry and altruism isn’t dead, we’ve just lost a sense of how to go about it. There’s a fine line between reverence and desperation; integrity (or character) and reputation. It’s simply a matter of asking yourself what you want, and the means you are willing to accept to get there. It’s a journey, not a race; a marathon, not a sprint. And while we’re barreling down the paths of most resistance, it’s OK to stop every once and a while and help someone who may never be able to repay you.

Because we’ve all been there (and could be there again). And we are all connected.

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