March 30, 2019,

Living life with a dutiful and blank canvass may feel safe, but is it wise?

We think not.

If that is your story, at some point you will feel that life is passing you by and if you don’t have a new plan and become disillusioned with your current life, where previously you have done what you were told to do, as opposed to taking the initiative to look within and valiantly struggle to find your true calling in life and passionately pursue it, you run the risk that life will influence your future for you.

Very unexpectedly.

Sometimes with bad actors leading the way.

This has been played out so powerfully on screen.

In one of the most penetrating Miami Vice episodes, Ed O’Neill stars as an undercover FBI Agent named Arthur Lawson who finds that out the hard way., NBCUniversal Television photo credit

Ed O’Neill is often remembered for his spectacular performances as the bumbling father on the popular and incredibly funny television series Married with Children.

On Miami Vice, he played a morally confused man who was anything but funny.

The title of the episode was appropriately titled, Heart Of Darkness.

Here is the storyline.

When detectives Crockett (Don Johnson) and Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) infiltrate a Miami porn operation suspected of using under-age talent, they find themselves dealing with an undercover Federal agent who may have “gone over” the line that separates the cops from the criminals., NBCUniversal Television photo credit

Initially Special Agent Arthur Lawson (1946-1984) was an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who was assigned to investigate pornographer Sam Kovics. While undercover within Kovics’ operation, Lawson fell out of contact with his superiors and was thought to have gone over.

Lawson was also becoming seduced by the lifestyle in which he found himself immersed.


He moved out of the apartment the FBI set him up with, stopped filing reports, and even stopped contacting his wife for extended periods. His erratic behavior led the Bureau to believe Lawson had changed sides.

He ultimately did help bring Kovics down, but afterwards committed suicide while being debriefed by FBI Agents.

Now let’s make sure we understand what was just said.

He didn’t commit suicide because he was charged with crimes he could not escape. He did indeed do his job.

He committed suicide because he did not want to go back to the former life that he felt was not meant for him.

Why does someone volunteer to go under cover? The conventional wisdom, or excuse, is because they want to save society from true monsters and they are willing to place their lives at risk to do it.

Fine. We believe them. Most of the time. Can we raise a question though?

Is it possible that sometimes they do it to experience what is called “the life”?

We move up the timeline to Rob Lowe and James Spader in the eerie film, Bad Influence., Triumph Releasing photo

Bad Influence is a 1990 American psychological thriller film directed by Curtis Hanson starring Rob Lowe and James Spader. In this noirish film, Spader plays a yuppie who meets a mysterious stranger (Lowe) who encourages him to explore his dark side.

Now get this.

The film’s villain is loosely based on a real person, a nomadic surfer who befriended executive producer Morrie Eisenman.

Talk about life filling the void.

The storyline?

Michael, a shy, socially awkward doormat, meets the extroverted Alex, who teaches him to be assertive and take risks.

To take initiative.

Things go too far however, when they go on a drug-fueled crime spree and assault a coworker Michael dislikes. When Michael wants out, Alex takes it upon himself to convince Michael to reconsider his decision, one way or another.

There is no out.

What intrigued us about the above two situations, similar to the film Training Day, where the masterful Denzel Washington’s corrupt cop character continues to reason with Ethan Hawkes noble rookie cop character, who desperately wants upward mobility, is that much of the lines of reasoning and philosophy that the corrupt beguiles the novice with is actually true.

It often does indeed make sense.

Maybe it makes sense because the person who hasn’t taken the initiative to find their own voice wants to believe that it makes sense.

So they continue to go along for the ride. Sometimes into darkness.

They continue to be seduced.

Which brings us further up the timeline to the film appropriately titled, Ride., RLJE Films photo credit

Struggling actor James (Jessie T. Usher) pays his bills by driving people around Los Angeles for a ride-sharing service. James’ shift starts out like any other, until he hits it off with a beautiful girl named Jessica (Bella Thorne) whom he picks up.

His next fare, the fast-talking Bruno (Will Brill), convinces James to invite Jessica along for a wild night out. But things take a shocking turn when Bruno, armed with a gun and a twisted idea of fun, initiates a terrifying, white-knuckle ride that quickly spirals out of control.

Sound familiar?

What is intriguing is that along the way, no matter how outlandish, Bruno keeps telling Jessie not only what he wants to hear, but also what he should hear.

Though he sees his fare driving days as transitional until he lands his big role, he most likely is deluding himself.

He is not taking enough initiative to spend virtually all of his time chasing down auditions and landing bit roles. Anything that might help him break through.

Bruno makes this all clear to him before he threatens to kill him and Jessica.

In the end, Bruno makes his purpose towards both life adrift people, Jessica and James, very clear and you know what?

Though we didn’t like his bedside manner?

It was hard to argue with his diagnosis.

“The important thing is to concentrate upon what you can do – by yourself, upon your own initiative.”… Harry Browne

If you are adrift in a safe lifeboat, with no initiative plan or agenda to find your real life, may we make a polite suggestion?

Take the initiative to find out, very early, what you truly are ideal for in this life?

Respectfully speaking, probably a driver for fare is not it.

Just sayin’.

If the world is a stage and you are playing your part, safe and adrift, be very careful.

Before you know it, life will send a charismatic actor into your life.

Most likely a bad one and here, unlike the famous song…

Bad is not good.

~ ~ ~

Opening photo photo