Say It Ain’t So, Joe!

It always happens the same way every morning, yet I always expect or hope for a dif-ferent outcome.  The coffeepot.  The Mr. Coffee coffee pot.  Endorsed by Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio!  One cannot pour the damn liquid from the glass container without coffee leaking on the counter.  I don’t know why this is.  Human beings have sent astronauts to the moon, developed the microprocessor, cloned sheep, found a safe and effective way to dispense cheese from a can.  Surely there must be some way to create a universal coffee pot that safely, effectively, and efficiently permits the caffeine addict to get a daily dose without having to reach for a roll of paper towels….That’s what I believe.  That is my hope.  And every morning I truly have the hope that I can pour my morning jolt  with-out incident.  Despite past evidence, past experience to the contrary.  It’s an irrational faith.  I haven’t purchased a new automatic drip coffee maker.  I haven’t studied and improved upon my pouring technique.  For all intents and purposes, I basically do the same exact thing every morning.  Employ the same procedure.  But I expect a different result.  (Which I know is the definition of insanity, but that’s a whole other discussion into which I don’t wish to enter at the present moment.)  It seems that hope, expecta-tion, the desire for a particular outcome yet to be determined is sometimes a very ir-rational thing.  At least for me.

A whole host of similar daily expectations and resulting daily behaviors comes to mind.  The days I leave my house late for an appointment and expect that there will be no traffic – or that it somehow won’t slow me down.  Or that I will get up at the exact time I set my alarm.  That I won’t hit the snooze button tomorrow morning.  Or that all my socks will come out of the dryer.

These are admittedly very small and insignificant things.  They are of little to no con-sequence in the grand scheme of a life.  But if someone can have such daily irrational expectations, why can’t a character in a play?  A play which is usually more often than not a thoroughly heightened series of experiences?  I know that for me the big moments in life are the ones in which I was just winging it no matter how much preparation and planning went into it.

So often the actor makes the smart choice, figures out the rational decision, comes up with the measured response.  I don’t know why this is, and I don’t care to examine it.  (It’s not my field of expertise if I even have a field of expertise.)

What I do believe is that scripts are full of characters who make decisions and choose to behave in a manner that those characters believe will produce a desired outcome.  This doesn’t mean they are smart.  Or logical.  It means that they are impulsive, wholly human, and hopeful that the things they do today will change the way things went the
day before.

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