The Killer and The Shopkeeper. You have the power to choose. Who do you want to be?
Last week we looked at that intense, pivotal scene in “No Country for Old Men” where Anton Chigurh, the malevolent killer for hire, toys with the kindly owner of a gas station. Here’s the clip again:
If you could only choose from those two men, who would you rather be?
That’s a key distinction. If you could only choose one to be, but we are using exaggeration to make a point and to think this through. To further clarify, we are going to call the shopkeeper The Merchant and the malevolent killer for hire The Warrior.
You would be foolish to be The Merchant, but as we learned in that scenario last week, The Merchant has some admirable qualities. He has raised a family and when we see him he is running a business. He is invested in the system. He is stable and has a home. He has a wife and children. He is a husband and a father, after all. The Warrior has none of these things, responsibilities, and privileges. After all, The Warrior needs what The Merchant has. But as we watch the scene develop we realize that one man is strong, decisive, predatory, dangerous, and in complete control of the situation. The other man is frightened, powerless, confused, unprepared, weak. The only reason the weak man survives is that, forced to play by rules over which he has no control— The Warrior’s rules– his chance choice in a game turns out well. He survives, but his life was always in The Warrior’s hands.
Watch the scene again. You see a predator watching his prey.
Did you notice something? The Warrior is not armed, unless you consider his words, demeanor, intellect, decisiveness, focus and self-control. He dominates the other man with his presence alone. And there is a lot we do not know. Did The Merchant have a weapon? Maybe a gun under the counter?
Doesn’t matter. We know he does not have the resolve to use it. The Warrior is in complete control form the moment he walks into the shop.
The Merchant, a good but weak man (Is it even possible to be good if you are weak?), places himself in the power of The Warrior, a strong evil man. What is the lesson to be learned? What would The Merchant’s wife say? The Merchant’s children? In this scenario, what, precisely, is The Merchant? What is The Warrior?
So many other things could have happened and in this fictional scenario, it all hinges on the many choices before the moment of truth.
What choices are you making? What kind of man are you choosing to be in your daily habits? What kind of life are you creating for yourself and what will happen at your own moment of truth?
Join us next week as we continue to look at the first, most significant obstacle to being an Authentic Man.
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