Volume 40: The Wizard Of Oz

“Close your eyes and tap your heels three times. And think to yourself, there’s no place like home.”  -The Wizard Of Oz

            Even though it’s a classic from 1939, I will never forget the first time that I saw The Wizard Of Oz- perhaps the most memorable movie I’ve watched during my childhood. When it aired on television last week, I thought to myself about a few things and decided that it would be my next random thought. It’s amazing how one views a movie at the age of five…as opposed to viewing that same movie at thirty. I observed how the main character Dorothy, befriends a scarecrow, a tin man and cowardly lion-who join her in the hopes of receiving what they themselves lack (a brain, a heart, and courage). The storyline to one of the greatest movies ever, began to sound eerily similar to the perils that men and women endure in their lives, as well as the characters we meet along the way.

Many of us are in fact like Dorothy Gale, the 12-year-old farm-girl from Kansas. Many of us dream of a better place “somewhere over the rainbow” …a place where true happiness exists; many of us dream of a place where we can find success and find our soul’s counterpart. We find ourselves swept up suddenly in a tornado of circumstance and deposited in a field of unfamiliar territory…our life’s version of The Land Of Oz. It’s then that we realize, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

             A man or woman’s quest for love is much more complex than simply following the yellow brick road. However, like Dorothy, many of us believe that our only means of getting home lies in an adventurous journey to an Emerald City to ask for a Wizard’s help. Life’s Wizards come in various forms: Celebrities, friends, radio talk show hosts, authors, relationship gurus- various forms of people that we seek the advice of and confide in…turning to them for a solution to our problems. And just as evidenced in the movie, our real life Wizard’s become exposed for being frauds, as opposed to the “all powerful” wizards that that want us to think that they are. So…accessorized with our ruby red Gucci slippers and our dog Toto, we set out to begin our journey.

Scarecrow: “I haven’t got a brain…only straw.”
Dorothy: How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?”
Scarecrow: “I don’t know…but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking…don’t they?”
Dorothy: “Yes, I guess you’re right.”

            I’ve come across quite a few Scarecrows in my travels. By scarecrows, I mean the individuals who are lacking intelligence. My life’s scarecrows have come in the forms of women lacking street savvy, and finding themselves victims of lies and carefully crafted manipulation from the fellas. In other instances, scarecrows have been male friends in my circle; some victims of circumstance, some dumb as toast-at times their decisions and random buffoonery having an adverse effect on everyone. I recently was told, “Beauty without intelligence is like painting a masterpiece on a napkin.”

Yes…life’s idiots sure are something to behold. How many of us have friends who do the same dumb things over and over? Most of us have that friend who can’t seem to stay out of trouble-the adrenaline rush of random drama rivals a fiend’s urge for that next fix. Perhaps it’s that love-struck woman, who falls for that same idiot over and over…doomed to a life of a Scarecrow…never learning from her mistakes.

            Later in our journey, we come upon the “Cowardly Lion.” These are the men and women who are afraid of commitment. People who suffer from the fear of commitment have the avoidance of long-term partnership and/or marriage, but the problem becomes much deeper than that. They will always claim that they’re eager to find a serious relationship and one day get married, yet do everything possible to ruin potential long-lasting connections. The same things they fear most are the very things that they crave: love, affection and commitment. “Cowardly Lions” have emotional flaws that are deeply rooted in their fears of their lost options and fears of making poor decisions. They look at relationship decisions as “permanent” and will often exhibit behaviors, such as pursuing unattainable people, fleeing from stable romance, and walking out on partners without closure. Crazy bastards they are…(laughing). The courage that they seek and need comes from within.
“Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.” –Dr. Robert Anthony

            And finally, what would life be without the Tin Man? What are they lacking? The tin man has no heart. They go about their love lives selfishly and do not wear their hearts on their sleeve. Some would define these individuals as bitter. Others go as far as to say that it’s the accumulation of years of pain and hurt-and somehow the Tin Man trait is simply a defense mechanism to avoid more heartache. Honestly? I’ll be damned if I know why people do it. If you’ve ever been through a bad relationship and had the gut-wrenching experience of a bad breakup, you probably can understand how one can emerge from it looking at the opposite sex in a different light and projecting their inner pains onto the next person they date. Sometimes us brothas can unintentionally project our pain to the sistas…sometimes it’s done intentionally. I myself came dangerously close to becoming a Tin Man after a multitude of failed attempts at love. If my love life had a soundtrack, it would have been named “Nice Guys finish dead last.”

            I once read an article, which stated that men and women are all animals. Men are like dogs…women are like cats. Cats sneak around, they don’t help you when you’re in distress, they don’t get along with other cats, are attention-seeking, temperamental and enjoy being rubbed the right way. Men…we’re like dogs. We get along well with other dogs, we’re loyal as hell, horny as hell, love to play and are simple…basic creatures. Like men, the dogs have one downfall…they chase cats/women. They never catch them, which makes me wonder why they even bother. The same goes for brothas chasin’ women. If a woman expects to be chased, forget her because after all…we’re not just stupid dogs.

…These Are The Random Thoughts Of Ronald Gray…