Seinfeld was genius at telling a story about nothing and yet leaving us with something. On closer inspection, maybe it really wasn’t about nothing after all. Maybe it told the story of the trials and tribulations, and the ultimate ending of a group of shallow and narcisstic friends. Unlike, The Sopranos, their end was pretty concrete with a trip behind bars. What made it so funny and compelling was that they weren’t phased by it at all. It was as if the prison walls manifested and revealed their inner workings – trapped in inane ideas, tics and quirks.
The Sopranons, on the other hand, left us with a different something. The end result of their lives not revealed but certainly foreshadowed by the demise of everyone around them (with the exception of Paulie, although it could be argued that his days were numbered). Not a cliffhanger per say, but a tip to the idea that behind any door could be the grand finale. I especially appreciated hearing Steve Perry and Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing as the closing song, not so much for its intended purpose, but for the symmetry of the front man’s life. In a more recent radio interview, Perry talked about why he walked away. He was longing to get off the roller coaster and re-assess his life. Something that the Soprano family either was incapable of or unwilling to address. The matriarch of the family, Carm, did make an attempt, but it fizzled rather quickly. So unlike Mr. Perry they chose to do nothing different at all.
Heros and heroines of film and life often say “I had to do something”. Gurus and counselors will tell you “Sometimes doing nothing is best”. If you are of the support group persuasion, you know that the the next thing to do is the “right thing”. But, how do you know if the right thing is something or nothing? Well, sometimes we don’t. And I think that is the underlying difference between awareness and denial.
Whether it be self-imposed or not known to the individual, not knowing is a nothing with a certain end. But, having awareness means you can choose to either act, defend, or sit still. It frees us from excessive worry of the obsessive variety. It makes us the heros and heroines of our own journeys. It causes us to take leaps of faith in a single bound. And on some occassions in the face of adversity, it causes us to stand completely still and do absolutely nothing. And I most certainly believe – that is something…else…
Something else? Something other than doing something or nothing? Yup. Doing nothing with awarenss is most certainly doing something. So, how ’bout a new word? Snothing. It loosely translates to choosing to do nothing. So, the next time someone asks you why you are sitting in front of the tv binging on old Senfield episodes, you can simply reply: “I’m doing snothing. I’m watching a show about nothing.” Now that is really something!