Sunday, June 28


I recently watched the final episode of Prison Break. It is the only television show that has captured my interest for four years, not that that means anything when you can rent the DVDs and watch an entire season in a matter of days—without commercial interruptions. But convenience has its price. The show lost its edge after the first season when back-to-back viewing exposed plot redundancy—making me almost want a commercial break. It’s not their fault, the writers; they blew their load as soon as their butt cheeks hit the sheets, excited and eager to impress. I just wanted something else to look forward to, especially having knowledge of their potential. In the final hour, they resurrected the excitement of the first season when things were fresh, unpredictable, and thought provoking.

For a solid week, I thought about my four year relationship with Prison Break, and about the theme of the final hurrah: things are not as they seem.

If you’ve ever read the book Illusions by Richard Bach, or watched What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole, or have any experience around or as a magician, you are familiar with this concept. Numerous circumstances in my own life have proven that things are not always as they seem. Situations rarely manifest the outcome I expected or sought. In the pursuit of one treasure, another unexpected gem turns up.

A two-week rafting trip in Alaska, for instance, serves as a significant example. I embarked on that particular trip to get chummy with Art Wolfe, a famous wildlife photographer. He offered me an internship that I dropped shortly after we returned to Seattle. The trip’s actual geode was a ride to the riverhead in a small twin engine aircraft, an experience that prompted my aviation career.

Even now, in the midst of acting out a profession that took years to acquire, I wonder if it really is the point. Perhaps the career merely ignited a system of placement, like a string of events that saves you from reaching the scene of an accident at the time of impact. Perhaps the real treasure has yet to be discovered. Just maybe, at age 36, this isn’t the end … but the beginning of something wonderfully fulfilling.

Please join the conversation in the comments section below by sharing a situation(s) in your life that has gifted unexpected treasure.


Rich said...

I agree about prison break, season 1 was excellent and then downhill from had to end.

Things rarely if ever turn out the way you plan them. I guess that's what keeps us moving on to the next goal. If things always turned out the way you think they should it might get boring...(once in awhile would be nice or at least get close to your expectation).

Don't let that stop you from setting new goals, working toward them to achieve the outcome you want. At least you are moving forward and even the misconceived outcome can be good if not better than the original!

Little bro said...

I am very sorry to say that I all but gave up on Choc. D. After several months of checking to no avail, it was eventually lost in my bookmarks folder. But leave it to procrastination (read: summer break ended) to resurrect my interest and spur me to check one more time. Glad to have you back big sis!

I'm currently reading through the posts that I missed in the last 4 months, but this one caught my eye as I was coerced into watching all 4 seasons of prison break on DVD this summer. The deal is I pick a show for us to watch (Entourage) and then she picks a show (Prison Break). I admit that I was a bit speculative of the show (How many prisons do they break out of?). But I eventually grew to enjoy it very much and was on the edge of my seat for the finale.

As far as unexpected treasures go, I think my joining of a fraternity fits the description. After high school I was set on living in the dorms with my best friend. It was going to be great: we would deck out the room with all the best college gear (a Belushi poster was a must), hang out in the cafeterias, eat Pagliacci all the time, basically live the college life. Over the summer, my friend wanted to hang out with a girl he knew that was already at the university. She immediately suggested that we try to join a fraternity. Of course my preconceived notions of fraternities kicked in and my mind was already made up, but I decided to let her take us to a party even if it was against my better judgement. So I accompanied them and we hit a 'Frat Party'. It was exactly as I had imagined it. Dirty beyond belief, obnoxious drunk individuals, a common sleeping area for freshman, and pretty much everything else that would turn a person away from choosing to live there. And so I had resolutely made up my mind that dorm life was where it was at.

But then something unexpected happened. My best friend called me up and said that we had one more fraternity that we had to check out. The person in charge of recruitment at this fraternity had gone to my high school and was someone that I had always looked up to. So I decided to check it out. What I found was an unexpectedly clean house, a bunch of really cool guys that I could relate to, and something indescribable that made it feel like a home to me. Of course the rest is history, and I am now the president here and have come a very long way as a person due largely in part to my time in the fraternity. I have gained friends (brothers) that I will have for the rest of my life.

Sorry for the long winded response, but like you, it had been a long time coming.

Hope all is well.

Choc. D said...

Nice to see you again, Todd! Thanks for sharing your story of unexpected treasure. I'm so glad you didn't join the first house. Oops, sorry, big-sis side came out.