Life Lessons, Courtesy Of Marty McFly

Posted 11/10/2010 by Brandon Wainerdi in Labels: , , , , , , , ,

            The adjusting process from an all-boys school that I had gone to for eight years to a state university certainly has its challenges, which I find myself repeatedly talking about in my writing to the bemusement of others. It's just that I find myself navigating around a huge new campus, full of unfamiliar faces, as they frown through caricature-large sunglasses, and I can't help feeling just a little lost amid this crowd of thousands. I can't help but miss my old friends, aching to connect with them in some way or another, wanting to share every joy, sadness, and inappropriate joke with them, somehow.

That is why Skyping people is so great, I guess. I love seeing friends that are millions of miles away, in other cities, in other worlds, through the time-and-space-traveling DeLorean of my MacBook Pro. And it’s slightly sad, watch them living new lives, making and replacing friends, moving slowly away from memories of me and times spent together. But we're all on the same journey, the same road to a new life.

“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”

Prophetically uttered by Christopher Lloyd at the end of the first Back to the Future movie, his time-machine blasting into the blue sky, this classic line has become more than just a quote from a cult eighties sci-fi movie for me. It’s become a sense of purpose, of how to conduct myself in my everyday actions, of how to force myself to be the best person I could be.

But, perhaps, I’m reading too much into it. Thanks Robert Zemeckis.

When I was seven years old, my dad brought home a torn-up VHS copy of the movie from Blockbuster, put it into our grainy old television, and made me and my little brother sit down and watch it. By the end of the movie, I was at a loss for words: I had never seen something so imaginative and fun, a quick joyride that my seven-year-old brain could barely understand. And that last line of the movie stuck with me, inviting me to spread my imagination past the physical familiarities of the world around me. It taught me to pretend wildly and carelessly, letting myself explore new worlds and new adventures.

            And then, it slowly evolved to teach me to try to run from this fast-approaching hold of a sense of vastly-overrated maturity. Recently, I composed a list of ways to escape these binds of maturity, which should be helpful in the future to explain personal reasonings:
·      1. Walking around a Science Fiction convention is a surefire way to appear more mature than you actually are. Maturity may seem inevitable but the key to avoiding maturity is to never be in a situation where you are the most mature. You have nothing on the obese thirty-year-old man painted in all green dragging a stroller around with a baby in a Klingon costume.

·      2. Continue to play with toys. Or, at least, buy toys in mint condition and never open them, storing them in your closet back home where they slowly collect dust in a sad state of semi-existence.

·      2.1. Internet shopping with the plastic debit card your parents gave you is a good way to get back at them for not getting the toys you wanted as a kid. Not surprisingly, eBay is a seeming treasure trove of late 90’s memorabilia.

·      3. Do not be afraid to live out childhood fantasies, like piloting the Millennium Falcon with a Wookiee co-pilot. Feel free to substitute a mini-stuffed animal version of Chewbacca and your dad’s 2005 Toyota Avalon, going twenty-over at 1:30 in the morning in a homemade, albeit very screen-accurate, costume for the desired results.

·      4. Girls are still hard to figure out. That never changes, no matter how mature you think you are.
But as I grew older, and with each yearly repeat of the movie, the end quote slowly evolved from this beckoning towards imagination and immaturity into something else completely. It became a reminder that there will be a time, far from now, when none of these cement pavements, none of these physical realities, physical things, Darth Vader action figures from eBay or otherwise, will matter because, one day, we will not be here in this world of responsibilities, repressions, and roads.

So now the quote serves, not as an call towards a life of make-believe, immaturity, and naïve joy, but rather as a reminder to focus on the important, existential things in life like relationships, familial and spiritual, because, one day that I cannot and will not be able to predict, Doc Brown is going to show up at my front door in his time-traveling DeLorean and take me away from all that I know, forever.

            I’m pretty sure that’s how this whole “life” thing works, anyway. But, don’t worry, I’m only a Skype call (and a recently-purchased Christopher-Lloyd-autographed Back to the Future poster) away.
[This post has been culled, combined, and edited together from two different, and mostly unrelated, blog entries: liii and c from my personal site But it still should make a decent amount of sense.]

1 comment(s) to... “Life Lessons, Courtesy Of Marty McFly”


Nicole Chadwick said...

It makes me so happy to know that I'm not the only one who uses Back to the Future for advice on life. This article rocks :)

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