Use Your Imagination . . .

I have never been accused of not having an overactive imagination. So, as a kid, when I read James Thurber’s classic short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, its message resonated thoroughly in my adolescent noggin.  (As I have told you previously, I spent many a summer day ensconced within the confines of my handmade treehouse, high above the ground, reading and rereading my favorite books.)  

The idea that a person could imagine any scenario at all, and then make it come true was almost more than my fertile mind could handle.  But it wasn’t for lack of trying.  I crossed more deserts, rode more freight trains, and sailed more seas than even a boy of 10 had a right to. But as time passed, the boy grew up and the dreams faded—until a few nights ago, when I learned that Walter Mitty was alive and well—sort of.

To my delight, I happened upon a TV presentation of a movie called (drum roll) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Filmmaker Ben Stiller, always a favorite of mine, acted in and directed the film, released in 2013 and based loosely on the Thurber short story. I loved it! What surprised me, however, was how poorly the film was received.  To say the critics were unkind is an understatement. My intention here is not to review the film, however, but to make some basic observations.

This is a true “feel good” movie, one that seeks to celebrate the good found in the common man, much like another favorite of mine, The Truman Show.  It, too, was lambasted by the critics. Why do we no longer find films like these appealing? When did we become so cynical as a society that morality no longer matters?

Today, the majority of films and TV shows glorify, even proselytize violence and immoral behavior. It’s hard to find a movie devoid of murder, mayhem, and evil. We’ve become desensitized to all of it. The worse the characters and their behavior, the more we like them. The current presidential campaign is just a reflection of our entertainment preferences. It’s no wonder we find ourselves once again voting for the lesser of two evils.

But just imagine if you will, what our world could be like if only we were more like Walter Mitty. I know it’s just a dream, but can you imagine it? Turn off the TV, pick up a copy of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and dream. Use your imagination. Maybe, just maybe, we can turn it around.

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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of five books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, Broken Promises and Deadly Ransom. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at:
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11 Responses to Use Your Imagination . . .

  1. Al says:

    I liked the movie as well. I’ve been a fan of James Thurber ever since I discovered his works via THE NIGHT THE GHOST GOT IN that was required reading in a high school lit class. And then came Jean Shepard

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now you’re talking! Did you know that you can get podcasts of Jean Shepard’s old radio broadcasts? Check out iTunes. I LOVE Jean Shepard. Used to sit in my car, late at night, in my driveway, listening to his broadcasts. He was the quintessential story teller. 🙂


  2. balroop2013 says:

    I like the terrain of your thoughts Joe…from a story to a movie to morals and the race to Presidential muscle show!! (pun not intended) Indeed we are dwelling in an unimaginable world yet trying hard to keep up the expectations of authors who exhort us to ‘use our imagination’ 🙂
    Quite thought-provoking!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Allie P. says:

    I loved loved loved the Truman Show. In fact we were just talking about it last night. It was a story that was so unique and well told. I felt the same about the Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good observations, Joe. I plan to check out The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. davidprosser says:

    And yet Forrest Gump was well received and that certainly had a feel good factor. I haven’t seen the Ben Stiller film and to be honest don’t really want to as I enjoyed the original with Danny Kaye too much and would hate to make comparisons. I seem to prefer the more gentle films than the car chase, shoot em up type where often the violence is just gratuitous.
    Keep well Joe,

    Liked by 2 people

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