PIE: a lesson from Men In Black III

First of all, the subject of this blog proves that you can learn a hidden truth or bit of wisdom from almost any thing or anybody. I don’t eat desserts, and I don’t like Men In Black.

When Ben and Allie Goodrow, two of my wife and I’s closest friends, invited us to check out the third installment of Men In Black, I groaned, since I had intentionally never seen the first two. Watching Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith crack jokes and kill aliens while playing the characters of… Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith… isn’t the kind of thing that gets my entertainment radar beeping. I immediately asked for other movie choices even though I knew Wabash has never really been Optionsville. The single-screen Eagles theatre downtown is the only popcorn and film game in the area, so whatever flick its showing is the one you go to watch. That’s probably why my wife dragged me to the Twilight rendition of Snow White a couple weeks before. But that’s a whole different blog.

Anyway, as I grudgingly agreed to go to Men In Black III, I prepared for the worst of Hollywood storyboarding to waste two hours of my precious life. In many ways, I was not disappointed. Boris the Animal was the first alien super villain that my cynical eyes were introduced to. I’m pretty sure he was the dude from Flight of the Conchords, a two person musical comedy team turned internet phenomenon.

As the movie opened, Boris found a way to go back in time and destroy the earth. Then Tommy and Will had to go back in time and stop the Animal’s insanely evil plot to dominate the world. Cliche, cliche, blah, blah, blah, wisecrack, cliche…

That’s kinda how the movie went, but then, in the middle of all the computer generated silliness, there was a miraculous epiphany. It bursted through the screen like a laser beam through a fog of foolishness. When Will and Tommy reached an undecidable decision, an uncrossable crossroad, what did they do? Did the more experienced agent pull a Maguiver and figure out how to make a fork, a car antenna, and a set of special shoelaces into a time travel device? No. Did Will bust out some gadget that he had previously left in his glove box during Men In Black II? No. Instead of some Hollywood-style trick or save all, the older Tommy suggested that they get some pie at the local diner.

Will’s reaction was the same as mine for a second… “PIE? What? That’s crazy? We have to figure this out, and you want pie?” While Will was still slightly agitated, Tommy calmly ordered the pie and ate it as if he were on vacation.

In that moment, my epiphany came. The wisest men I’ve known usually aren’t in a rush. They have a schedule. They are prompt and on time for appointments and deadlines, but even when they’re up against the wall with an important decision, they take time for “pie.” They rest. A little bit of R&R widens their perspective. They know through experience that focusing too hard on their problem only gives them tunnel vision. And with tunnel vision, it’s impossible to see the solution that encircle them.

Needless to say, Tommy and Will figured solved the proverbial puzzle as they downed their pie and chatted about other things.

Since then, I’ve started using this approach in songwriting. If I can’t think of the next line for a song, I scrub some dishes, or take care of some other thoughtless task, and usually, I conceive the perfect line while doing other things. If it’s a bigger problem, I’ll go out to snack with a friend or do a good deed.

What if instead of stressing about every little problem that comes up this week, you make a pledge to have some pie? I’m not talking about watching tv, playing video games, or something entertainment driven. Do something old-fashioned for a change. Take someone you respect out to eat or invite some friends over for dinner. Do something to rest and to intentionally be with good people. Once you stop isolating yourself and focusing so intensely on your problem, I guarantee that good things will happen, especially if you rest in God.

So, although I don’t eat desserts, and although I’ll never watch Men In Black again, I’ll take the black suited wisdom from MIB III and sit down for some pie this week with a friend, but hold the fruit and flaky crust, cuz for me it’ll probably be Chicago Deep Dish.

To check out the blog that I love the most go to: worshipsongweekly.com

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