A Belt, A Stick And A Wrench

For those that have yet to see Good Will Hunting when it came about and have since not taken the opportunity to plop it in the DVD player (you’ve had 19 years people), and still have zero clue what I am about to dive into, let me break it down for you with some cinematic prose:

Will (Matt Damon): [Sean is going through Will’s patient file. Inside are shown pictures of Will after brutal assaults by his foster parents] You ever have any, uh, experience with that?
Sean (Robin Williams): Twenty years of counseling, I’ve seen some pretty awful shit.
Will: No. I mean, have you ever had any experience with that?
Sean: You mean, personally? Yeah. Yeah I have.
[Sean looks away for a moment]
Will: I’m sure it ain’t good.
Sean: My father was an alcoholic. Mean fuckin’ drunk. Used to come home hammered, looking to whale on someone. So I would provoke him, so he wouldn’t go after my mother and little brother. Interesting nights were when he wore his rings…
Will: He used to just put a belt, a stick, and a wrench on the kitchen table and say, “Choose.”
Sean: Well, I gotta go with the belt there, Vanna.
Will: I used to go with the wrench.
Sean: Why?
Will: Cause fuck him, that’s why.

The last line of this scene is simple, but in my opinion, speaks volumes. Life is about choices. Some are harder to make than others. Some more meaningful than others. Some more beneficial than others. Some more detrimental than others. Choices define us whether we choose (key word) to believe it or not. How you react to people. How you plan out your day. How you spend your day.  Why you chose to wake up at the crack of dawn. When you decide to finally visit that old friend. Where you decide to call home. Which of the three items you choose above… We are constantly weighing choices, trying to decide what we want vs what we need vs what we are obliged to do.

So why in the world would Will choose the heaviest and hardest of objects of the three above? You know that friend that won’t budge for anything? That someone who even after knowing they probably shouldn’t go on a run cause something is worn and torn, they still go anyways. The one who still refuse to see the forest for the trees as much as you try to guide them to enlightenment. I digress, we’ve all been there. Hell, I’ll be the first one to admit I play that part more times than not. Some people are just plain stubborn and to a fault, like a stupid fault. But sometimes being stubborn isn’t stupid at all. Stubbornness lets the world know where you stand, for better or worse.

In many respects, one could argue stubbornness can breed toughness when used appropriately. Or better yet, let’s replace that with resilience. The more resilient you become, the better you are able to be thrown off the saddle, dust yourself off and get back up on the horse. And when you get knocked off again, you get back up on that saddle cause you are tougher, stupider, crazier, more resilient than you were before.

It’s easy to accept what ‘is’ and hard to ponder what can ‘be.’ That’s why complacency is easy, cause it just ‘is’. It’s frightening to think about your potential, your strength, your mettle, especially when it has yet to be tested.  It’s an uncomfortable exercise for one to go through honestly, but its not anything new we ponder as an after thought daily.  Where do you want to be and what will it take to get there?

For two years I have been pursuing a vocation that very few have the privilege of obtaining. By far the hardest thing I’ve ever pointed and aimed at in my life. I’ve had my fair share of “setbacks” both mentally and physically. At times, I’ve been forced to come to terms with my realities, but that logic never wins even though reason tells me otherwise. Many who know this still think I am crazy.  Even at times I think I am crazy for continuing to hold on. Like I said, I’m stubborn.

Personally, the events in my life where I have experienced what I consider to be my biggest accomplishments have never come when the odds were in my favor. Looking back, I’ve learned and gained the most when the odds have been stacked against me and every slow, meaningful endeavor I have put effort towards has built up any and all of the resilience I have. How do I know this? Well, I’m still in the fight and I don’t plan on tapping out any time soon

I’ve learned a lot over the past year by opening myself up to the reality that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Everything has a cost, it all just depends on how much you are willing to give up to achieve what you want.  It’s the choices we make that lend a strong hand to any success we claim.  We can blow on the embers of hard truths that might cause blips in our plans and still find warmth in the fact we have set ourselves on a bearing and are still on the path. And when or if we course correct, at least in victory or defeat, we find solace in the fact we had the gumption to try.

Choosing the wrench might be stubborn, it also might be stupid.  But for some, we just choose it because we can. Because it is the hardest of them all. Because the reward is greater than any discomfort or unease.  I want to die knowing I embraced the stiffest winds and paths less traveled.  I don’t want to be left wondering at an old age if I ever would have had the courage to “try.”  That’s just my personal choice though.

Which of the three would you choose?

2 thoughts on “A Belt, A Stick And A Wrench

  1. I like your writing. “Blow on the embers of hard truths” is an impressive turn of phrase. Unfortunately, the older you get, the more inclined you are to choose the belt or the stick, because you’re more worn down by then and go for the path of least resistance.


    1. Thank you, I appreciate the feedback! In the end, some people still prefer the wrench just because they can. I do agree, it becomes much easier to choose the path of least resistance as you age but maybe that path is the wrench for someone else. It’s all about perspective and reflection in the end.


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