Tell us the herioc montage(s) in the movie(s) about your life.

Hollywood’s calling; they’re doing your story of your life. When the bulk of the movie has been laid out, when you know and accept the task you must accomplish, you finally GET IT. And then you go forth with a heightened sense of purpose and sheer doggedness, and you do the things that heroes do, setting up the dramatic triumph at the end of the movie.

I think it’s important to focus on something they can gloss over in a montage, representing a short-ish time frame. I’m proud of jamming money into my retirement account for the past 25 years, and in a sense, it’s heroic as well, but that’s not the stuff of movies. I want the scenes that show you in a jogging suit, huffing and puffing in the winter air and punching slabs of beef a la Rocky.

For the first movie, Groo, which will later be called Groo: The College Years after the sequels start coming out, there was a week of absolute hell I went through trying to graduate from college. The backstory, briefly, is: guy battling various personal demons comes back for the sixth year of attempting to get his four-year degree. No money left, all traditional financial aid sources exhausted, no chance that any further academic fuckup would be forgiven, so he views it as “graduate or die.” Plus, he’s homeless for the first quarter of that year, putting all of his money into tuition payments and other fees, and taking jobs where (a) food was available and/or (b) sympathetic coworkers overlooked the fact that he occasionally slept in their buildings. That was a difficult year, which would doubtless be shown in the first 2/3 of the movie, but it all culminated in a maniacal 64 hour sprint of activity that, 25 years later, seems amazing to me.

Tuesday Morning: Hour 0
Finished experiments & wrote a paper (not attempting to show new science; just showing that I could gather and analyze data in a disciplined way, and could explain it coherently at a graduate level). This was an incomplete from the previous quarter. At about hour 12, I met my father, who’d just flown in and whom I’d met just three years earlier and who I still technically hated, and mapped out where he should sit during the ceremony so as not to be seen by my mother and sister, who violently hated him, and who were completely unaware that I’d started making attempts at reconciliation. No time to sleep; I studied for four or five hours and took a four-hour take-home test at hour 20.

Wednesday morning: Hour 26
No time to sleep. I needed to prepare for the presentation of the results I wrote up the previous day. Then I gave the presentation at hour 30; I’m not sure whether or not I was coherent, but I got credit for the class. No time to sleep; I finished writing another paper (related to anthropology, I believe) from an earlier incomplete. Finished around hour 40.

Thursday just after midnight: Hour 42
No time to sleep; I studied for a few hours and took another four-hour take-home test (starting at hour 46). At around hour 52 I met with my sister and mother, who’d flown in, and then finished a bunch of overdue lab reports for a class that was actually NOT an incomplete. Then I set about hand-carrying test results from various TAs to various professors and back to the registrar to ensure that I was actually getting credit for all of this stuff.

Thursday evening: Hour 60
At hour 60 I staggered towards my dean’s office, with several non-fatal bullet wounds, a couple of Ninja stars sticking out of my back, and walking with a limp from being hit by a very small meteorite. (Okay; I’m just sexing it up for Hollywood. These were mostly metaphorical injuries). I met with my dean late in the day (for him), and presented him with all of the notes and grades and letters, hoping to show that I’d just actually completed my college education and deserved to participate in the graduation ceremony the next day.

My college used “units” that were different than for most colleges. I needed 416 (or 516 units – my memory is a little hazy) to graduate, and my major was odd in that it did not have a GPA requirement higher than the overall college minimum GPA (1.8).
Yes, C minus. I came in with 418 (or 518) units, and a GPA of 1.81, and to my credit, I said, “I guess I overshot the mark,” which made the dean laugh. He’d let me re-enroll after being on academic probation on three occasions, and he wanted me to graduate. In fact, it turned out that he’d already had my diploma prepared and ready.

So, that was the montage, capped off by my little joke at the end. The rest of the movie would just show the ceremony the following morning, with me walking up to accept my diploma accompanied by a small sprinkling of cheers, getting a wink from Princess Leia, and (I’ve always suspected) the exchange of monies as some long-odds bets were won.

I believe we all have some heroic tales to tell. A lesser example from last week: I heroically carried a basket of laundry from my car up an entire flight of stairs despite excruciating pain from a back problem. Some other guy landed an airplane in the Hudson River some months ago, though I believe these two are a little weak because we’d have to use tricky editing to get a sense of time-dilation.

So, please report: I want some inspiring stories, and I know you’ve got 'em. I’d be content with laundry basket stories of your own, though your life-changing ones might be more inspirational. For that purpose, the time you walked up to that girl and asked her out despite the fact that you knew you were a total loser seems more inspirational to me, even moreso if she brushed you off and you managed to summon up some dignity as you walked away. If we get some good stories, I can add some of my other heroic exploits that occurred between The Graduation and the Great Laundry-Basket-in-My-Car-For-Three-Days Crisis.

Just one stipulation – these events must have happened in the past, not the future.