A passing thought of mine with a particular cadence to it caused me to wonder where I got it. I remembered Tommy Lee Jones saying it in a movie that I recently saw. I used his inflection in a thought about something.
Wow. That’s weird because you see I live in the United States where every person creates his/her own destiny and becomes the person that he/she personally designs without help or assistance from anyone.
We mimic and duplicate others whether we are conscious of it or not. If it’s a John Wayne phrase for oldsters or a Bruce Willis comment for mid-oldsters or a guy I’ve never heard of for those under 30; we simply like to copy. It may be their confidence that we’re after or the caution in their voice or someone’s behavioral mannerisms that stays with us at the end of the film and into some unknown tomorrow.
For priests of my generation it was Fr. Bing who solved personal problems in the person’s house and only if the person had a handy piano for Fr. Bing to sing the person’s problem away. For even older priests it was Fr. Barry Fitzgerald who dotingly ran his parish church – safe and unchallenging and dying.
Young parents swear that they’ll never say something to their children that their parents said to them as they blurt it out one morning and then recall its origin. “It was just so easy, it just came out,” the parent thinks, “I don’t know where it came from!”
Talk about modeling. My mother was all enveloping and my father was a sealed envelope. One couldn’t say enough and the other keep his postage due but their phrases and mannerisms creep up on me at different times. My remembrance of them through words and gestures is heartening for me. It’s the Fr. Bing’s lines that make me pause and wonder who I’ve become.