Friday, January 11, 2008

Principal Vernon Was Right...

Buford wrote another beautiful piece awhile back. Did we ever post it? I'm not sure. Now this is a blog, I've been sick, and we were in desperate need of something new to post. So if we did use this previously, I apologize to the faithful readers who have been through it already. We got plenty more coming. Don't worry. For the new people who randomly crossed our path... enjoy.

- Barry

You think he's funny? You think this is cute? You think he's "bitchin," is that it? Let me tell you something. Look at him - he's a bum. You want to see something funny? You go visit John Bender in five years. You'll see how goddamned funny he is.

This scene in The Breakfast Club was at the point in the movie where John Bender is still playing up the 'tough guy' role. He's mouthing off to the principal, and trying to make him look like a fool in front of the other students. Basically, the scene illustrates perfectly how some teenagers act towards authority figures. I think the scene is brilliant on two fronts. One because anyone under the age of (I don't know... let's say) 21 thinks it an absolutely appropriate attack on conformity and the general idea of 'grown ups.' Conversely, everyone OVER that age can see that Vernon's response is 100% correct. This is something that I'm sure many teachers for YEARS have been dying to say to some of their smart assed students.

Vernon's statement to Bender is probably something that most everyone is already thinking. Bender was a go nowhere bum that was cruising through high school on his way to a go nowhere job (odds are more than one go nowhere job). He didn't care about anything, and it showed. High school was going to be his last hurrah, and I believe Bender knew it. Graduation would come, forcing him into the real world. And the real world isn't a very pleasant place sometimes. Especially for someone coming in completely ill equipped.

Granted, Bender had a tough upbringing, which sucks. Too bad for him though. Plenty of people have been placed behind the eight ball. It's his job to work his way out of it. Instead, he decided to prove all his critics correct by becoming the bum they all thought he was.

My guess is that shortly after graduation, Bender would be kicked out of his house, and would have moved into some crappy apartment. From there, he would have to take on a crappy job at a gas station, unloading trucks, etc. At first, he would be a big hit with some of the rising seniors at Shermer High School, because they would have a place to hang out, drink and smoke weed, basically somewhere with no rules; a club house, if you will. This would be fantastic, until approximately the end of the first semester of college for all of his former friends that he used to hang out with that did go off to school. This is when Bender would get his first taste of 'growing up.'

All of his old friends would be home from school now, and would come over and hang out. They would still smoke up, drink and b.s. about the old days, except his friends were now also talking about the new people they have met and different things they are doing. This is when his old friends would begin to realize that Bender was in fact going nowhere. Chances are he would probably lose his first job about now. His friends are home for vacation, and he would undoubtedly screw it up by wanting to hang out, and not 'giving a fuck.' It happens. He is only 18, and 18 year olds make mistakes. Unfortunately for him, he is not in a position to make a lot of 18 year old mistakes anymore. If he doesn't lose his job, well then, he has now come to the realization that his is in fact a working stiff in a shitty job, while his friends are off having fun. This is when his lot in life becomes clear.

By the end of the second semester, the friends don't call him when they get back from school as quickly. They now have other things to do. Maybe they realize that hanging out with the 'old crew' isn't as fun as it used to be, and frankly, John has probably moved on a little as well. Here he is... 19 now, and most likely hanging out with guys that were him 10 years ago. He has officially started his descent into becoming a regular at some third shift bar. He is now who he will be for the rest of his life. At 19 years old.

By the time his friends from high school are graduating college, Bender is firmly entrenched in his meager life, which he created for himself. He has become someone who his old friends will run into on that Wednesday before Thanksgiving at the local bar. They will smile, and speak politely. They will also realize that they have nothing in common with the man they thought was so cool in high school. Bender will have become that bum that Vernon had prophesied 5 years earlier.

Now, is it possible that it worked out another way? Yes. It's possible. Do I think it would have? No way. Bender had too much going against him to start with; he needed to be dedicated to making sure these things didn't happen to him. The last semester of his senior year is entirely too late for him to magically 'turn it around.'

When Vernon calls out Bender, it is a turning point in the movie. Here is an educator calling out a bum on his bullshit, and actually saying 'I'm not going to take it anymore.' I love it. I sided with Bender in high school... but, now? Vernon was right. Bender is a shiftless asshole.


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