Friday, April 29, 2011

Rich Man Poor Man- Day 29- Proverbs 29

In 1976, ABC broadcast its award winning mini-series "Rich Man Poor Man" over a 3 night span. Loosely based on a 1970 novel by Irwin Shaw, it featured Nick Nolte, Edward Asner, Susan Blakely and represented a unique program style that was copied in many ways throughout the rest of the decade.

We are coming to the end of Proverbs- and though the categories have been stated, illustrated, and depicted in similar and repetitive ways- the narrative has not changed. There is a right path of wisdom and an unrighteous path of foolishness. These roads run on perpendicular angles, in full view of one another, but end up with entirely different destinies.

I have taken the principles in Ch 29 and put them in the form of a dramatic dialogue. See if you can find references to the verses in this important scene of our mini-series:

 Two brothers who have lived starkly different lives- night 3 of the telecast and years of turmoil, tragedy, and trial- if you will. Nick is the ruthless one- wealthy in the world's eyes- commanding status. And his younger brother, Daniel- never a blip on the radar screen- simple, kind, patient, resilient.

Their father is long gone and Nick has been far away for many years. In a quiet corner room of a dark house- the two are alone- ready to have a conversation that sums up years of absence and existence.

NICK: I didn't come here to be judged or condemned. If we must have words, them let's not waste them on any self righteous condescension from a brother who can only wish to have experienced all I have come to know.

DANIEL: You are too quick to judge ME- maybe you have already put my face and words to the feelings that must be in your heart.

NICK: do think you are better..

DANIEL: NO- I'm broken and you are too. If there is any virtue in me, it is that I recognize my condition and you hide from yours.

NICK: WORDS! Always speaking words- always the witty one.

DANIEL: You have never been around me enough to repeat even one piece of advice that may come from me...

NICK: No need to- you are the father's favorite- you lived according to his advice- you have conformed nicely to all his pressures.

DANIEL: We are so far apart in our view of things that this conversation is fruitless...

NICK: No - we need to settle our affairs- this may be our only time to attempt it.

DANIEL- All right, my eldest brother, please lead and I will follow.

NICK: What did Father say? Did he even speak of me?

DANIEL: He did. Every mention of your name the last few weeks of his life made his lips tremble and his tears ran as streams.

NICK: Was he bitter.......?

DANIEL: It seemed more like regret to me.... maybe a touch of concern.

NICK: CONCERN! What was there to worry about?

DANIEL: All I can tell you is that he would mumble- something about 'when the stubborn are finally broken'. It seemed like a riddle to me at the first- but over time- as I watched him- I knew he was worried about you. He was worried about when life finally breaks you.. if there would be a hope of healing.

NICK: Well, aren't you the psychiatrist now. I'm telling you Daniel- you are twisting a dying man's words to slay me with guilt and I see right through your wickedness and deceit.

DANIEL: huh- You have called me many things over the years, Nick. I have my faults, but lying is not my nature and manipulation would never work on you.


DANIEL: Calm down....

NICK: Yes, I have known the pain of regret- my pursuits have produced a worthless empire of dust- my staff and workers have always hated me....all my efforts have only made for me enemies who want me entrapped and destroyed- they spread lies and there is NO LOYALTY and a dead father now accuses me through a jealous brother... why do I even want to put up with your crap.

DANIEL: Oh my god- will you stop the nonsense!


NICK: I do vent don't I....

DANIEL: PLEASE- this is not about winning or losing- we are all dealing with pain and loss, This is life and we all have coping mechanisms...

NICK: Stop playing Dr Shrink...

DANIEL: This is getting no where.....



DANIEL: He looked at me for a long time. He said he wished he had been a better dad.

He said he gave us too much and disciplined too little. He said he talked too much and hugged too little.

He was sad.

He told me to tell you that the way to peace is not in wealth and progress- and he was sorry that he did not teach you that.

NICK: And did you correct him? Did you comfort him?

DANIEL: No, I defended him. I told him that he had done those things BUT it was up to us to apply them. I told him WE were responsible for the results... not him. But he didn't believe me.. he didn't listen... He drifted away and began to mumble about being finally broken.

NICK: Well, you were right- this was a waste.

DANIEL: No- Nick, he WAS right. You are successful, and powerful, and have no need of anything- including me. But the best thing you could do today is for once in your life HEED his words. You will fight right your whole life... but one day... you will be all alone, mumbling in pain and regret.

NICK: And thus comes the I humble myself eh! And what do I become? I become like you. And WHY would I ever want to be like that?

DANIEL: You never need to be me. You need to be you. But if you really want to find peace- you are going to have to unset that jaw and remove that chip. And until that happens you will always see- even your own brother- as an enemy. And I still want to be your friend.



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