Friday, December 01, 2006

The Wookie has no pants.

So life is running at it’s normal pace, and things are taking place all at the same time, and you are left wondering: what do I spend my limited time and attention on? What’s important? What REALLY matters most?

Not only is this the subject of many people’s inner dialogues, it’s an old favorite of management gurus the world over.

And you know, it is a useful skill: to be able to discern what is really worthy of your time and effort, and what is not worth the brain waves, let alone the rise in systolic and diastolic blood pressure points.

But how many times do we so totally NOT do the above? We toss that out the window and throw ourselves into the fray, letting the drama and petty crisis grind us, steal our precious mortal moments. How many times do we, wihtout really thinking, take a front row seat in the theater bizarre and let the absurd take over our lives? A lot, I bet. It’s hard not to, right? The worst is the aftermath, when hours, days, months, years have passed and we suddenly rouse and wonder what happened to all the things we should have done, should have paid notice or heed or mind too, but let fall to the way side. How did we let the idiotic become our over-seer?

Now I’ve heard it said that large organizations, be they 'for' or 'not for' profit seem to have this struggle play out day after day, but that the higher up you go, the more the tendency to be subverted by the absurd, the more the propensity to let the totally so not important be the sole focus of your radar, concentration, and artillery.

The above has been expressed in so many different ways, but I really saw the point drilled down recently by Mark Hamill, on this ‘Making of Star Wars’ retrospective. And I have to say, it hit home for me. So much so, I have this line he said posted on my white board to remind me what gets my attention, and what is just so much fluff and balderdash.

Seems during the making of the movie, a lot of things went wrong. More wrong than right. And production was delayed multiple times, special effects were needed that didn’t exist, money spent over budget, and then more money spent over budget, and just a general total f’ing panic towards the homeward slide. In fact, Lucas even got admitted for chest pain, told to wind down or else, and checked himself out A.M.A. and went back to the war. Meanwhile, the Fox executives were very busy issuing each other memos and holding meetings over one very salient topic of grave concern: “The Wookie has no pants.” That’s right. Amidst all these ‘blue chip’ issues, i.e. things that are serious heavy duty, they were completely tuned into the totally ludicrous: do we clothe this alien, are we skirting decency by allowing him to appear unpantsed? Gawds almighty: “The Wookie has no pants.” And that's what Mark really remembered, what stuck in his mind. "The Wookie has no pants."

So that’s it for me now: my absurdometer. I look at everything coming across my desk, across my life, all the things I think I should have a nice little melt down over, everything that demands some commitment of time and energy, and ask my self if it boils down to “The wookie has no pants” scenario. If it does, then it's just too damn stupid to warrant any more brainwaves than it took to make that classification.

And you know what? There are an awful lot of Wookies running around with no pants in this world. Who knew?

No comments: