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Confessions Of A Second Rate Mind Essay

1495 words - 6 pages

Confessions of a Second-Rate Mind

Recently, I found myself drawn to Woody Allen’s essay, “Random Reflections of a Second-Rate Mind.” I liked the title; I can relate to random thoughts, but I hated the idea of relating to Allen himself. I dislike him on a personal level. I have trouble condoning the behavior of a grown man who refuses to ignore his animalistic urges and sleeps with his teenage step-child. But perhaps Allen had some clue as to what he was doing considering that the latest Hollywood tabloid reports that he and his step-daughter/wife have just had a child together, and are doing well. I won’t speculate, but I have put aside my issues with his personal life, and have found common ground. I too, have random thoughts, and often take the “free association” approach in my writing. But what really got me with Allen’s essay is that all the random thoughts he includes, were all inspired by one chance meeting with a Holocaust survivor in a trendy New York Restaurant. Allen’s analysis of this man began, and I was hooked: As I eavesdropped, I wondered: If an angel had come to see him [in the concentration camp], when he was scheming desperately not to be among those chosen for annihilation, and told him that one day he’d be sitting on Second Avenue in Manhattan in a trendy Italian restaurant amongst lovely young women in designer jeans, and he’d be wearing a fine suit and ordering lobster salad and baked salmon, would he have grabbed the angel around the throat and throttled him in a sudden fit of insanity? Talk about cognitive dissonance! (22). This little passage did two things to my mind. First, I recalled countless times when I could not have even tried to predict a positive outcome to a given situation, much less a future past it, and I’m sure the man in Allen’s essay couldn’t either. And second, I began to remember all of those chance encounters with random people that changed me personally. As Allen resumed his random thoughts on growing up Jewish in New York, and his struggles in later life dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, no doubt inspired by his encounter with the Holocaust survivor, I began to recall similar experiences in my own life.

I have a good friend who lived abroad in Scotland last fall. We both have the uncanny knack of meeting someone for the first time and inevitably end up knowing their entire life history within a fifteen-minute conversation. He and I communicated over e-mail, sharing daily stories. One in particular began, “…and over Big Mac’s and fries, the Doctor told me, some random curly-haired kid, his story of the one that got away.” As it turns out, my friend met a retired doctor who had been in the service during World War II, and had been stationed in Scotland. While there, the doctor met “the one,” a Scottish girl, but never told her how he truly felt. Before he shipped out to return to the US, he debated finding her, and asking her to go with him, but he just couldn’t get up enough...

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