I’ve noticed that there is an obligatory scene in every action movie where we learn just what a hardcore badass the protagonist is.
The rules of this scene are pretty simple. It’s never delivered by the protagonist, but by a third party that knows the hero. He let’s somebody (usually the bad guy) know how badly they’ve screwed up by pissing off our hero.
For example, In First Blood Col. Trautman delivers this speech to the sheriff.
God didn’t make Rambo. I made him!..You don’t seem to want to accept the fact you’re dealing with an expert in guerrilla warfare, with a man who’s the best, with guns, with knives, with his bare hands. A man who’s been trained to ignore pain, ignore weather, to live off the land, to eat things that would make a billy goat puke. In Vietnam his job was to dispose of enemy personnel. To kill! Period! Win by attrition. Well Rambo was the best."
In Man on Fire, Rayburn (played by Christopher Walken who would be my choice to deliver a speech about what a badass I was) describes Denzel Washington’s character as follows:
"A man can be an artist… in anything, food, whatever. It depends on how good he is at it. Creasey’s art is death. He’s about to paint his masterpiece…He’ll deliver more justice in a weekend than ten years of your courts and tribunals. "
In The Glimmer Man, Mr. Smith says this about Steven Segal:
"Suffice to say, to the people he hunted for us, he was known as the Glimmer Man. There’d be nothing but jungle, then a glimmer… Then you’d be dead! "
I could go on and on, the technique is ubiquitous. Once you notice it, you realize it’s in every action movie, and quite a few others besides. The hero never says it, because that would be bragging.
The problem is that nobody ever says this kind of stuff about me, in any context. Or, if they do, I imagine they’re rolling their eyes and being ironic. Or, if they do, and it’s complimentary, it never gets back to me.
Today I got some hardcore cred. I sent out an email scheduling some meetings with some employees. It went like this:
“Tues 2:00, Scylla meets with Jack
Wed 9:30 Scylla meets with Johnny
Thurs 2:00 Fredo meets with Scylla.”
Well, apparently Fredo read that email and wondered why I put his name first with his meeting when I put my name first when I met with Jack and Johnny. He speculated that there was a message there in the subtext, and sent an email to Jack wondering maybe if there was, or he was reading too much into it. He thought that maybe I was saying Jack and Johnny listened appropriately at meetings and he, Fredo did not.
Jack emailed Fredo back (hitting “reply all” which is how I learned of this") and said.
“I don’t know what it means, but it means something. Scylla does nothing by accident.”
I kind of thought that was pretty cool. Makes me look pretty badass. Anyway, that’s what I got (of course it was totally by accident, but that’s beside the point.)
“Big deal,” you say. “So what?” That doesn’t make you Arnold Schwarzenneger.
Ok. That’s true. So… What do you got? Can you top that?
What hardcore cred, delivered by a third party has ever gotten back to you?
(oh, and please feel free to give me more hardcore cred. Now that I got some, it’s like a drug. I want more. If you give me some, I’ll give you some.)