Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bill and Ted's Travel through Generations

Most Excellent

Rufus: Hi, welcome to the future. San Dimas California 2688. And I'm telling you it's great here. The air is clean, the water's clean, even the dirt, it's clean. Bowling averages are way up, mini-golf scores are way down. And we have more excellent water slides than any other planet we communicate with. I'm telling you this place is great! But it almost wasn't. You see, 700 years ago, the two great ones, ran into a few problems. So now I have to travel back in time to help them out. If I should fail to keep these two on the correct path, the basis of our society will be in danger. Don't worry, it'll all make sense. I'm a professional.
Ivan can probably give you a solid psychological profile about me based on the movies I've watched repeatedly in my youth: History of the World Part 1, Spaceballs, Labyrinth, Star Wars and now Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Last night we jumped back to San Dimas, California circa 1988 (when I too was 14-years-old) and no one knew Keanu Reeves could act (uhh...okay some may still dispute his ability to act, but I swear if you see A Walk in the Clouds...)

For Ivan, Keanu Reeves sold him enough to pop the disc into the X-BOX (does San Dimas circa 2688 still use discs? Does the X-BOX still exist?) Certain aspects of the movies (besides Keanu) made him say "Party on, dudes!": rock-n-roll, Socrates, Beethoven playing a bunch of electric keyboards in a mall, and a time traveling phone booth. Others made Ivan cringe, plug his ears and cry "Bogus Dude!": Bill's attempt to recite poetry to "historical babes" and Napoleon at the Waterloo water slide park. In the end Ivan felt the movie redeemed itself when Bill and Ted gave a "most excellent" presentation.

Tonight we follow up with Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.

Influence #3

Bill: It is indeed a pleasure to introduce to you a gentleman we picked up in medieval Mongolia in the year 1269.
Ted: Please welcome, the very excellent barbarian...
Ted, Bill: ...MR. GENGHIS KHAN!
[All the students applaud wildly for Khan]
Ted: This is a dude who, 700 years ago, totally ravaged China, and who, we were told, 2 hours ago, totally ravaged Oshman's Sporting Goods.

UAF Associate Professor Eduardo Wilner pointed out in his presentation that as a parent I'm behind genetics and friends on the Influence Scale (See Bad Monkey! post from October 2008 and link to Wilner). I believe this third tier rank comes from a serious problems with the parental mission statement. From what I can tell most parents focus way too much on rules, lectures, groundings, choosing their children's futures, philosophies, and religions. Parents forget that once they were people and that 'Mom' and 'Dad' are just titles much like 'President' and 'Dictator.' I approach parenting like Facebook rankings. My chance to reach Ivan is just as great as anyone else's: we both speak English (he does speak German and I do speak Spanish, so long as we don't try to use those languages we will not lose ground); we both realize that Maslow's Heirarchy overshadows our lives, we both know that peace is held together by some loose understanding of a social contract. We know there are rules that rule our lives, and contrasting philosophies that muddle up the examination of those rules. He spends an equal amount of time with any given friend as he does with me. So, am I going to really screw up my chance to influence his behavior and decision making by focusing on the rules, lectures, groundings, and choosing his future? Hell no!

This does not mean Ivan gets away with everything. Jonnie Reeves can count on one hand the times he wanted to kill Ivan for getting grounded from D-N-D. I am a parent who follows the 48 Laws of Power:
  1. In most cases, I am willing to follow Law 13: When Asking for Help, Appeal to People's Self-Interest, Never to their Mercy or Gratitude.
  2. However, when Ivan breaks Law 19: Know Who You're Dealing with-Do Not Offend the Wrong Person; I then
  3. have to open a can of Law 33: Discover Each Man's Thumbscrews and add a dash of Law 9: Win through you Actions, Never through Argument.
  4. It's okay because Ivan is pretty good at Law 36: Disdain Things You Cannot Have: Ignoring them is the Best Revenge.
Either way the behavior gets corrected because Ivan knows that my groundings are like interventions and my real teachings are through brainless movies like Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, annoying soundtracks like Cats, regular attendance at D-N-D, and really reminding him that I'm a person not my job title and that I make mistakes.

It's All Relevant After All

[after Napoleon explains his new waterslide war strategy] I don't think it's gonna work.
Napoleon: Non?
[pause, then slams his pointer down on the map, scattering playing pieces everywhere]
Napoleon: Triomphe Napoleon!
[translated: Napoleon wins!]

In the end, Ivan will probably put all his influences into one big tub and make his own mixture of life. You bet I'm gonna try to get as much of my own flavor without making him me, because really that's it's own bag of cherry bombs. So long as we "Be Excellent to Each Other," I think anything is possible.

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