I've seen A Beautiful Mind, and I can't resist talking about it. I'm even going to tell you how it ends. So if you haven't seen it, save this paper, go see the movie, come back, pick this paper up again, finish reading. All right? Get going. I mean it.
Those of you who know I once was a research mathematician before I went a little "funny in the head", and who recognize that as the basic plot of ABM, will understand why I might relate to this movie personally.
Of course, John Nash, the protagonist of ABM (played by Russell Crowe, whom I am, by the way, as handsome as) was already a little funny in the head as the story of the movie began. But in truth, I was also noticeably odd prior to graduate school. They didn't call me Weird Wes for nothing. As far back as kindergarten. The thing is, in both cases we got way weirder after graduate school. Right after.
The main difference between Nash and I, besides the fact that I won't ever win a Nobel prize, is the diagnosis. Nash (whom, in real life, I am as handsome as) was certifiably paranoid schizophrenic. I was a something else wrapped up in a Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. In practical terms this means that I didn't believe MY hallucinations. But mine made up for that by being more mystical.
We've been having a little fun here at Real Change speculating as to the title that my movie will have, if ever Hollywood should get around to twisting the facts of my story. Tim "Perfess'r" Harris (whom I am as handsome as) has suggested A Perverse Mind. Anitra "I've Got Your Writer's Workshop Right Here" Freeman likes An Esthetically Challenging Mind, or A Beautiful Id. Or (she's telling me these as I write) A Nicely Dimpled Mind. Or A Mind with A Great Personality. No Really. A Great Personality.
I can't decide which I like best. Those are good ideas, but I also like A Beautiful Right Cheek, or A Beautiful Gut, or A Mind Only A Mother Could Love. Or, My Other Mind Is A Rembrandt.
"So, Wes, when are you going to get polemical?" -- some of you are probably asking. Well, I'm gearing myself up to it.
In the one place, we know that in real life Nash was not a poster child for anti-psychotic meds. Nash's condition improved after he stopped taking meds. Given the impact of the movie, I think this can't be stressed too much. The movie doesn't come down hard enough on this fact.
Lately I've been sharing my drug life in these pages. To correct a possible misunderstanding: I survived the worst of my Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome without drugs. Without even alcohol. The drugs I take now are only fine tuning a cure that already came about the way Nash's cure came about: long time dealing with the problem directly, with my mind, and with the help of truly beautiful minds (a therapist, friends, and some other people who had been where I was.)
In the other place, I just cleaned my apartment. I haven't felt so non-homeless in years. It took days to clean a 200 square foot room. It was a joyful necessity.
What does cleaning my place have to do with A Beautiful Mind? Good question. Answer me this: What does the CIA have to do with aliens?
I rest my case.