Marlon Brando speaks to me.
Anytime I have a major dilemma, I think of Brando and I get my answers.
Well, I really don’t think of Brando, but rather I think of Vito Corleone as portrayed by Brando.
Vito was a Gangster, a Mafioso, a Hoodlum – whatever you want to call him – but he was also a wise man who knew how to run his Famiglia.
Corleone, father to Sonny, Michael, Connie, Fredo and Tom (only as a surrogate) acted as my own personal consigliere when I needed one in life, if only in my head.
Vito, Brando, Corleone – whomever – taught me that every action begets another action, good entices bad, bad entices good and every ying must have a yang.
He was the first person to ever get through my thick skull that life is always going to make you offers you cannot refuse and that you must accept.
Life’s offers come by way of lessons, people and experiences, but the offers are made and it is up to you to either refuse them or take on the challenge.
And life, controller of all that she is, is a bitter enemy when you choose to ignore her bidding – she too is a criminal of sorts a la Ma Barker. She soothes, provides and then takes you on sprees of deception that challenge your status quo – life will not be ignored.
Ma Barker left nothing on the table when it came to getting her way and neither does life.
So I have Vito in my mind to guide me and to remind me…’that offers you can’t refuse are simply that: gift horses you don’t look in the mouth.’
Offers of no refusal are life granting you a kick in the proverbial rear indicating the direction you must take and how you should conduct your behavior.
Offers of no refusal are simple things like how to treat your parents, how to respect your elders and how to conduct yourself when in the presence of strangers, company, family or anyone.
So if Ma Barker is life and Corleone is conscience then who are we? We are merely their instruments and so we must let them play us and whistle out the tune they beckon from our actions. For every note, there is a corresponding chord that brightens up the melody. And so that is life best defined: a series of events resulting in one harmonious existence, despite any setbacks.
Do you get the picture?
Life doesn’t give you a money back guarantee so, to quote the all-knowing-media-mogul-of-not-so-late Oprah, ‘you must live your best life’ and these best lives sometimes entail doing what we don’t want to do – taking the path of most resistance and going down the road of uncertainty.
And along the road you will see the sign reminding you yet again where you have arrived and where you are going…
Vito’s picture will be on it as Ma Barker is hot on your trail…
This life is an offer you can’t refuse.
In other words, accept you must…
… and accept…