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  • Writer's pictureJeff Johnston

The Art of Twigging

“Oh, I know. You just go with the flow. Like a twig on the shoulders of a mighty stream.” -John Candy in Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Certain movies just stick with you. Each one of us has that sacred list of movies. You know, the ones that make you stop immediately as you are channel surfing late at night. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve seen it, you still stop and watch no matter what scene is playing. Here are a few insatiable films I must watch when they are on, there are many more but these are instant classics for me:

  • Gladiator

  • Die Hard 1 & 2

  • Jaws

  • Pale Rider

  • Caddyshack

  • Scarface

  • Wall Street

  • The Exorcist

  • The Silence of the Lambs

  • Halloween

However, one particular movie I fell in love with was Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. There is just something about that movie that appeals to me. It has two of my favorite actors of all time, John Candy and Steve Martin. I don’t know of one person that didn’t like those two. The 1987 comedy offers us awkward chemistry between Dell Griffith played brilliantly by John Candy and Neal Page, impeccably performed by Steve Martin. Slapstick humor culminates with a very surprising ending that still brings a tear to my eye. However, it was one scene that particularly resonated with me of which I still quote to this day.

It’s a scene where they were speeding down the highway on one of their many unfortunate adventures and Dell Griffith says to Neal Page during a scene in which Neal is agitated and upset, “Oh, I know. You just go with the flow. Like a twig on the shoulders of a mighty stream.”

I absolutely LOVE that quote! It just made so much sense to me at that moment. The fact that we suffer needlessly when we fight against the natural flow of things. I view it as similar to the Chinese concept of the natural balance of yin and yang. It dawned on me that far too often we “fight” the flow of life and we try, forcefully, to change the direction of the current, to no avail I may add.

Later on in my life, I began to use the quote, “I am twigging” when we went out with friends. This came from the inevitable angst we had when going out to a movie, dinner, or wherever we were headed with a group of people. One couple wanted barbeque food, another yearned for Mexican and yet another wanted to grab wings and beer. I used to become agitated - like Neal Page would be with Dell Griffith. So, instead of fighting against the “stream of the evening” I simply declared to all, I was a twig for that night. From that point on, I was not going to make any decisions and simply was allowing myself to be at the mercy of whatever “flow” the evening took us.

This became very liberating for me and as it turned out evolved to a catchphrase within our circle of friends. We would gather at a local establishment to map out the evening plans, who was driving, where we would go, what we would do after dinner. I would proclaim proudly to the group, “I would like to announce, tonight, I am twigging!” From that point on I simply relaxed and let the energy and the excitement of the evening unwind naturally as an experience in consciousness, so to speak. I suggest the next time you are with a group of friends and the tension is building, everyone is talking and voicing their opinions, raise your hand, clear your voice and announce, “tonight my dear friends, I am twigging.” See where it takes you, enjoy the ride.

Live undeterred!

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