What do an old action hero, an 80’s pop star, and a semi truck have in common? A crazy movie about an arm wrestling dad that may make you think about tools like you never have before.
The 80s Were Crazy
As a teen in the 80s, I used to love going to the movies. There were all kinds of movies about all kinds of things. There were big movies about nightmares
and adventure seeking professors.
And it only made it more difficult for new movies to stand out. There were action movies, alien movies, romantic comedies, and horror movies. There were movies that made you stand and shout and movies that made you cry. If there was something you wanted to watch, chances are there was a movie for it.
I’m Not Making This Up
So, what do you do when the line up is crowded? Evidently you have to make a movie that’s about as unique as you can get.
Enter Over the Top. It’s a movie starring action hero Sylvester Stallone. But in this movie he’s not wielding boxing gloves like in Rocky or a machine gun like in Rambo. He’s a professional arm wrestler. Who drives a big rig. Trying to win the affection of his son. By winning an arm wrestling tournament. So he can start a trucking company. And his hat enables a sort of super power.
I am not making this up:
I don’t know if there was any redeeming value from the movie except for one hit song in the soundtrack. It came from the same guy who wrote the original Footloose song: Kenny Loggins. The title of the song was Meet me Halfway, and as I was out for my run the other day, the song came to mind.
People in Pain Make Bad Choices
On my run, I saw two guys walking down the street. They were both smoking. I see so many people walking down the street smoking in this community, and it makes me think. The area of town where I run in is lower income, and so many people in the area are buying expensive cigarettes when they probably don’t have much money. It seems as if they turn to these distractions to avoid thinking about the difficulties they have. It seems counter productive, like there are better choices they could make.
But, in the same way it’s hard to run when your legs are in pain, it’s hard to improve when you are hurting. People often make these choices from a bad place. It makes me think of how people need a chance to make a better life. Then I wonder what I can do, mainly because there seems to be a flaw in always expecting them to make the right choice.
A House Built with a Rock and Some Sticks
If I hire a contractor, I hire one who has tools and knows how to use them. If I asked for a house and the person showed up with some rocks, string, and sticks, I would know something was amiss. You need tools to build a house.
And many people don’t have the right tools to straighten out their lives. We’re expecting them to make better choices when they’re making the best choices they know how to make. They’re building their lives with the tools they have in hand and we are turning them away while they are using them at expert skill level.
This Is The Part Where That Movie Makes Sense
We need to meet people halfway. We need to stop expecting them to magically make the right tools appear to improve their lives. They may not even know what the right tools are. How do you understand the purpose of a screwdriver when all you’ve ever known is hammers?
We must stop expecting people to change with the tools they have. We must stop holding people to account for using the tools they have as best they can. We must start helping people see that there are other tools and be patient with them while they learn how to use them. We must meet them halfway.
I have to think that there are often times that I don’t make the best choices. I can only use the tools I have after all. I think we all can see that in ourselves and maybe we can use that knowledge to better understand people. I bet if we build half a bridge with the tools we have, we will find they will use their tools enough to meet us halfway.