There’s a depth and pathos to Steve Carell that is inside me…he just happens to be a LOT funnier than I am! Just saw the movie called Seeking A Friend For the End of the World with Carell and Keira Knightley. And I loved it!

Steve Carell

This is actually ME!

I had read the reviews. Some loved, some hated it…but I see a lot of wit and wisdom just short of When Harry Met Sally. I’m a not-so-closeted Chick Flick lover, and this is near the top of my list. Comedy and drama and emotional heartstring-pulling are hard to pull off in one package. While the movie isn’t outrageously funny, it has some nice and often darkly humorous ideas…see William Petersen (from old CSI days) get merrily sent on his way with a totally surprising bullet to the throat from a self-paid suicide-assisting assassin…strangely, this really qualifies as humour in the situation.

Steve Carell is one interesting dude. First coming to know him as a bumbling jerk in The Office, I would think that he had the emotional and dramatic depth of Jim Carrey (NOTE to Jim Carrey- this is NOT a compliment). But you know, after seeing him in a number of movies that bring up a serious note in his personality…think, “Dan in Real Life”, “Crazy, Stupid Love”…I regard him as a full-fledged human male-animal with emotional range that makes you laugh and cry at the same time…sort of  melancholy mixed with a smile...

The evolution of his character Dodge from depressed, bland, and rejected, to caring, calm and quietly content in the movie was nuanced and uplifting. Both Carell and Knightley speak more with their eyes in this flick than with the dialogue…the acting by Knightley is particularly impressive, and I love that her imperfect British teeth just make her a more wholly real character.

Seeking a Friend…” reminds me that life is joyful AND miserable– sometimes they strike separately at different times, and sometimes they co-exist in our lives simultaneously.

I’ll find myself jubilant over high school and university graduations, festive marriages, successful business ventures, sports achievements, Victoria’s Secret ads on TV, photos of me with a full head of dark hair.  These fill me with a welling-up of happy, warm feelings.

Victoria's Secret Black Friday at Westfield Sa...

The source of happiness and warm, fuzzy feelings …

I also have tragic and sad things that encircle me: news of cancers, unexpected deaths, family breakups, kids with handicaps, my fat-man jeans won’t come together to do up anymore, I laugh so hard that peanut butter oozes out my nose. All sad and woeful occurrences.

Joy and Misery– how do we live our lives without becoming swallowed up by “Bi-Polar’Ness” or just allowing the sad events to overwhelm and colour the hours and days of our existence? With a 50-50 mix of good and bad, how is it that we can keep the good near the forefront and minimize the pain that must intrude on any life, without the use of mind-altering pharmaceuticals?

Here’s a short list of a few things that work for me although I admit I’m a work-in-progress and find myself wallowing in self-pity occasionally, but I try to stay out of the murky swamp of anguish and pessimism.

1. Avoid as much as possible the daily HARD news of TV and newspapers. Our news media is an amazing organization, but its prime focus and raison d’être is to take the mundane and often-times boring realities of life and make it “newsworthy” and “dramatic”. If it bleeds, it leads is a wonderful way to sell your product and get additional viewers, but absorbing the news about tears and heartbreak is a sure-fire way of holding a gun of despair to your head every day. SOFT news about puppies and Tom Cruise’s latest divorce, while read in the supermarket line is probably OK in small amounts!

2. Ignore/avoid people who want to bring you down or make you unhappy. There are some “Debbie-Downer” folks out there who are determined to find a black lining in every bright cloud. If you don’t absolutely have to spend time with these sad sacks (totally ignoring your boss won’t improve your chances for raises!), then don’t …when you get in the mud with a pig, you get dirty and the pig gets happy. Stay out of the mud and find some positive, upbeat, happy souls to play and work with…there are lots of them out there. If you have a hard time locating some, drop in to a neighbourhood childcare centre and spend an hour with some kids (NOTE: Pedophiles, please ignore this point!), count how many times you’ll laugh over the hour.

3. The amazing philosopher Woody Allen said, “Most of the time I don’t have much fun. The rest of the time I don’t have any fun at all” and also, “Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon.” Fun and new experiences get and keep us charged up and enthusiastic…so I try not to say NO to new experiences, although Bungee Jumping will never make it onto my “Bucket List”…even I have limits! Study a new language, try a new sport, experiment with a new sex position from the Kama Sutra. The stimulation of the new …”renews”.

Look…this is just ONE idea!!

Steve Carell aka Michael Scott: “Everyone said to Vincent van Gogh, “You can’t be a great painter, you only have one ear.” And you know what he said? “I can’t hear you.”  I say stupid things all the time (occasionally on purpose, but more typically, it’s just me), just like Michael Scott. I can hear myself saying this, trying to look bright and impress those around me…but actually, I’m just Steve Carell looking for a way to extract some brief joy from life’s haystack of happy and sad moments.