‘Say Anything’ projects lessons on life and uncertainty

By Derek Miles

The 1989 Cameron Crowe film “Say Anything” gave us a lot. It gave us arguably the best teen romance movie of all time. It gave us John Cusack holding up a boombox blaring Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” It gave us the character (played to perfection by Cusack) of Lloyd Dobler.

Dobler has since become something of a romantic pop-culture idol, as the imperfect geek who somehow lands the near-perfect Diane Court (played by Ione Skye). While Dobler has shaped up to be one of the most beloved characters in the history of chick flicks, what sticks with me most about him are some words that he speaks in the film

“I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought or processed, or repair anything sold, bought or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”

Like Dobler, many of us in this stage of our lives have a pre-thought and well-rehearsed monologue, but most of us, however, don’t seem to be as sincere with the world as he was. While he speaks about certainty all he has really figured out for sure is uncertainty, we tend to speak with confidence about our futures, our aspirations and our plans.

But let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. Most of us are in the same boat as Dobler. We have no clue of what the future holds, let alone where we’re going to stand in it. As Dobler points out, many of us have a pretty solid idea of what we don’t want to do — which is a start.

But isn’t this the period in our lives where we are supposed to put things together and figure things out? Absolutely. So, why are many of us busy trying to keep up the deception that we already have everything put together and figured out? That seems a bit counterproductive to me.

While most people probably aren’t on the same level as “The Graduate’s” iconic Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), floating in a pool of self-doubt and insecurity about what lies in front of us. Most of us, however, can relate to Dobler’s indecision and anxiety about what our future holds. After all, this is the rest of our lives that we’re talking about.

The bottom line is that in terms of the future we are scared, excited and uneasy about the great unknown that is to come.

Surely I’m not Dobler-esque in my outlook of the future. I have an idea of what I want to do — and don’t want to do — but, I certainly don’t hold any illusions that I’ve figured it out. After all, what is the point of that?