Monday, November 23, 2009

Why I Will Survive the Apocalypse

I am apparently well equipped to survive the Apocalypse. I say this not because I have a storm cellar stocked with dry goods and water (though I do know a guy who has such supplies) nor because I possess some unique skills such as the ability to grow crops, hunt game, fashion my own clothes or fly a rocket ship. No, apparently, I possess these skills because I am a writer. Or at least, so Hollywood tells me.

Mind you, I've not seen this latest parable, but according to the plot summaries I've read, in 2012 John Cusack's leading character is a writer. This follows a long line of rather ludicrous and unlikely heroes in Hollywood. I remember one reviewer commenting on Will Smith's lawyer in Enemy of the State. But that was Will Smith, so a certain leeway applies. As much as I like John Cusack, however, I have trouble believing any of the writers I know are equipped to survive the end of the world.

(With the possible exception of Stephanie Meyer who has clearly made some sort of deal with demonic powers. There's no other explanation for it. Then again, maybe that just guarantees she'll be among the first collected.)

This is not to say I haven't learned things that might not be useful in my writing career in the event of the impending end of the world. But there's a wide gap between researching something to write about it, and actually doing it. I wrote a couple of short articles on edible plants, but without the guides I used as a reference in my backpack, I'm as lost as the next guy. Maybe a little less lost, having been a Boy Scout, but even then there's a limit to my abilities.

The bulk of the things I have written on I just can't see being any help should an asteroid strike, or a supervolcano explode, or nuclear war break out, or any other number of doomsday scenarios occur. Though I might possibly survive the invasion by a large lizard type critter that breathes radioactive fire, based solely on Orson Wells surviving Godzilla. But as I don't live in Tokyo - or for that matter within five hundred miles of the nearest oceanic coast - somehow I foresee my having plenty of time to get out of the way should something come ashore. (Nothing ever comes ashore in the Great Lakes, not even in Hollywood. ... Okay, there was one exception, but I challenge anyone to name it.)

None of which matters to Hollywood. I'm not sure there's a reason why the main character in the latest disaster flick is a writer. Part of me suspects there's a jar someplace where Hollywood writers reach in and draw out a random career for the hero. How else do you explain Arnold as a kindergarten teacher?

Or maybe it's just wishful thinking on the part of the screenwriters, attempting to get themselves on that doomsday list in the event of the end of the world.

Either way, should we reach that point in my lifetime, I will cling to the hope there's a reason for it, and that whatever reason it is will be made manifest when the time comes. Which beats cowering under my desk, which is most likely where I'd really be.


cellasboots said...

I liked this post. If it was supposed to be funny on not, I don't know but it made me laugh.

And now that I think about it, people in movies are always writers.

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

The bottom-line for even Hollyhood have pay the bills and people go to see them.
All the very best.