As I get older, my own mortality and the mortality of those around me become more apparent. I’m still not that good at dealing with it, but in my teens and twenties I really had no idea where to begin. My primary coping strategy was to be really quiet to ensure that I didn’t say anything stupid. The bottom line is, I really don’t know how to comfort someone when the shit hits the fan.
As always, I know that I can turn to the Friday the 13th series for sagely advice. A while ago, I took a look at Sheriff Garris’s gentle method of informing his daughter that one of her friends had been murdered. Now that I have the delivery of bad news down, I can turn to Part V’s Dr. Matt Letter for effective coping strategies.
Matt runs a halfway house for victims of trauma who are preparing to reenter society. He seems like a swell guy and isn’t too stringent about any particular rules. He even lets the angriest man on earth take care of all the jobs that involve potentially deadly instruments.
Now, I understand there is a huge temptation to bury an axe in any bumbling idiot. Especially when they lecture you on “being really outta line!”. It’s best practices though to keep such bumbling idiots as far away from the angriest man in the world as possible. I mean the guy with the axe seems to literally hate everything.
Things get ugly right after said bumbling idiot has already gone around bothering his less homicidal housemates. They’ve all yelled and snapped at him and pretty much sent him to his doom, but are understandable upset when he ends up on the business end of an axe. This is when our heroic doctor first leaps into action.
After the immediate concerns are taken care of (by a paramedic who refers to the traumatized kids as a “bunch of pussies” for wincing at the site of a freshly mutilated corpse), there is still the problem of resuming day to day life. The woman in charge of setting the table accidentally sets a place for the dead guy. This brings about the expected snarky remarks and eventual arguments before Dr. Letter materializes in the door and assesses the situation in the best possible way.
Being a trained doctor and all, it doesn’t take him long to get up to speed. Everyone is struggling to cope with the sudden violent death of a peer. In order to better facilitate the healing process, he lays this one on them: “I know this isn’t easy on any of us. So let’s just have breakfast.”
That will get right to the root of the problem. I’m sure a plate full of scrambled eggs will un-slaughter that mentally handicapped orphan that was hacked up before their eyes. In what year of med school do they cover this technique?
I know that I’m packing this doozy away in my toolbox should I have to deal with any potentially traumatic situations. At least the ones that occur during early morning hours. I’m not sure how I’d approach something after 10 am.
This scene is indicative of the absurdity of the whole movie. I don’t know what I enjoy more, the shitty advice or the fact that he just appears in the room. I’m not watching this in a “so bad it’s good” way though. A New Beginning is so full of great moments like this that I can’t imagine that they were done on accident. The fact that everyone plays it so straight is what makes these moments the gems that they are. I can’t think of many movies that do this as well as A New Beginning.