Recently I was watching a rerun episode of “3d Rock From The Sun,” a serial science fiction situation comedy which originally aired on NBC from 1996-2001. It starred John Lithgow as (High Commander) Dr. Dick Solomon, Kristen Johnston as (Security Officer, Lt.) Sally Solomon, French Stewart as (Communications Officer) Harry Solomon, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as (Information Officer) Tommy Solomon. The characters they portray have come from another more advanced planet and the hilarity with which they encounter the nuances of behavior on Earth though blunted, is frequently hilarious, and serves as the basis for the zany show.
In this 2d season episode #22, entitled “Will Work For Dick” which originally aired May 4, 1997, Dick’s secretary Nina quits, and Dick hires Harry, whose poor skills become Dick’s source of frustration, while Nina tells Harry to fight back. Meanwhile, to advance her understanding of the human experience, Sally decides to attend a children’s ballet school to re-live the childhood she never had.
As usual, in the summary closing scene, they all are seated upon the roof to reflect upon the day’s events. In this episode Tommy, Harry and Sally are seated on the roof, while Dick joins them shortly.
Sally: Gyp – all I wanted was a normal childhood but Dick just couldn’t let me have one! I felt so humiliated.
Tommy: Hmm… I bet when you looked out into that audience and you didn’t see Dick there that you just felt like your heart was torn out.
Tommy: Yeah… and you felt betrayed and alone.
S: Uh huh.
T: …and you’ll never trust anyone ever again.
T: Yeah. Well, congratulations Sally! You’ve just taken your first step into childhood.
S: I have?
T: Yeah… and now you take all this emotional damage and let it feed your adult neuroses.
Harry: And the best part is that if you ever kill a guy or balloon up to 400 pounds, you get to blame Dick.
Dick: (off screen, and climbing onto the roof) Sally!! Sally… Sally! I am so sorry I missed your recital!
S: Yeah, you did. Umm, thanks, Dick.
Dick: What for?
S: Well, you’ve given the most precious gift of all…. emotional baggage. Thanks.
D: You’re welcome.
S: Now I gotta’ go eat.
D: I’m sorry Harry… I thought I didn’t need anyone. I thought I could do everything by myself. It turns out I was wrong. I do need someone… just not you.
H: Well, it takes a big man to admit that. And I guess it just goes to show you that you can’t work with your family.
T: But technically, we’re not a family. We’re more like coworkers.
D: Well… it goes to show you can’t work with your coworkers.
T: Isn’t that the motto of the Postal Service?
How ironic is it that within this humorous exchange we see the fallacy of blaming others and not accepting responsibility?
Birthed from pain, blame avoids responsibility. The fallacy that we are self-sufficient feeds failure. Yet our natural tendency to avoid pain curiously drives us toward pain through avoidance of responsibility, which in turn feeds failure and absence.
It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a destructive cycle. But, it’s part and parcel of our shared human experience.
Calling honesty… come in honesty.
Is there anybody out there?