You’ve got to watch this new movie called Napoleon Dynamite. This is going to be one of my favorite movies for a very long time. If I had the skills to make a movie, this would be the one I would make. If the Lord asked me to choose my life, I might choose the life of Napoleon Dynamite.
In school, drama was one of the most fun times. By grade 8 everyone wanted me on their drama team. We would come up with unique skits based on books like War of the Worlds or To Kill a Mockingbird. In high school I quickly signed up for the drama class but thanks to all the dope smokers that also signed up (thinking they would get easy credits) I swapped it for Art, which was such a much better decision. (I’m not kidding, one guy pulled out his wiener and peed on the classroom carpet during class, this is the kind of crap teachers had to deal with). I still don’t understand why I didn’t sign up for art in the first place, or both.
In grade school there was an art contest that I won, and my painting, as far as I remember, a very well done tree against a forest was displayed in one of Toronto’s major galleries. Schools from all over came to see and children were with their parents. Except for me, as usual I was without mine. It didn’t completely matter to me, by that time I was usually paying my own way and signing my own permission slips. I was so proud of my work though, nobody could tell that a mean girl scratched a line across the trunk of the tree with her black felt pen. I painted over it and still won.
About a year later the art gallery mailed the piece back to my school, my school mailed it to me (I had moved from North York to Malton by then) and my grandmother threw it out, saying that it was against our Muslim religion to have such art in the house. I reminded her that we recently were taught at our Mosque that the same Muslim religion allows me to beat her for being so disobedient to me, but that didn’t fair very well for me. :) Come on I was like 9 years old.
I would get used to this though, this thing where I would build something and the family in my life would tear it down for one reason or another. Everything was an uphill battle. Nothing was simple. I hear about these young business people who succeeded in a big way and I try to find out about their home life. What kinds of beatings were they taking each day, how many busted noses did they have to clean up right before school, how many times did they come home to see all their possessions gone, how often did 100% of their money go towards family expenses?
Do some art, it goes into the garbage. Buy some neat toy for myself, it gets sent to Guyana to more needy children. Build a business, all the money goes into the family expenses leaving almost nothing for my needs and nothing to reinvest into the business. There were many times that I missed school trips simply because all my money went to the phone bill or car payment or an emergency. When I was in grade 1 I would purchase candy from a convenience store at Bathurst and Finch, reselling it for a profit at school. One day my mom found my money stash and not only did I get a beating, but she took away the money. I couldn’t understand her deep stupidity – I wondered at the time why we bothered coming to Canada if I wasn’t going to get any opportunity – and this was in grade 1!
Once in a while I’d be able to afford both family expenses and mine and I’d sign my own permission slip and have a great day on a school trip. I was about 15 or 16 years old when I dropped out of high school. A few days before I dropped out I brought like $5,000 cash to school, profit I had made doing computer related consulting, and asked a cute girl in the library to keep it in her bra for me till the end of the school day. I don’t know why I brought the money, or why I asked the cute girl to do it. I wasn’t having sex or anything like that, I wasn’t trying to show off I don’t think. I just thought it would be an interesting thing to ask a girl for. She did it to, right in front of me. It was so awesome.
My guidance councilor found out about it though, and called me to his office during math class. He asked me what was going on, my grades went from 90’s to 30’s rapidly. And I told him. He then called a bunch of my friends to his office to gather more info and gain references. By that time I tried to shore up my grades by paying some of the girls to do my homework, and some others to come to my house and be my assistant in my home office and that worked out well. One time, age 15, I was eating a deliciously prepared lunch, watching the Flintstones, while one girl cleaned for me and another was outside changing the tire tube on my mountain bike. My high school councilor listened to these things, and the testimony of my friends made his jaw drop.
This brings me to why I really like Napoleon Dynamite so much. I wonder what life would be like if that was it. No real problems, no real situations, just wake up, feed your Lama, go to school, ride your bike. Or be Kip and talk to hot babes on the internet all day.
In the movie there’s this man named Uncle Rico, and that’s exactly who I’m turning out be. Uncle Rico is old and feels all washed up. He thinks about the 80’s and how far he could have thrown a football. “If the coach would have put me in the championship game, we would have won.” I feel like that’s the story of my life. Being able to do something, but never getting a clean opportunity. Uncle Rico would trade it all for a time machine so he could go back and do it all differently. I would to.
Or maybe I’d just move forward. Why? Jesus promises that this life will be very tough for a lot of people, in fact He promises that it will be just a brutal challenge for most of His followers. The glory, the reward, that happens later.
Napoleon got his happy ending, one day so will every follower of Jesus. Ours will last for all eternity.