Over the past two days I’ve watched The Legend of Tarzan twice. The first time I caught most of it, from the late beginning to the end, and the second time it came on I thought I’d watch just the beginning and then turn it off, but I didn’t. There’s plenty of mediocre stuff in it, but overall it was great entertainment. And then the second time through I heard what I think is the best line in the whole film, and was able to stop and think about it, because I knew what was going to happen next.
Jane says to Rom “A normal man will do the impossible to save the woman he loves. My husband is not a normal man.” This might not be an exact quote, but it’s more the concept than the exact words I’ve been mulling, so my apologies to the screenwriter.
A normal man will do the impossible to save the woman he loves.
Whenever someone in my family starts talking about what is normal, I usually reflect that everyone is weird in their own way and no one is normal. So there are no “normal” men. But there are ordinary men. Is this the standard anyone has for an ordinary man, that he would do the impossible? In the old fairy tales, it is. And that made me wonder, if the standard stays the same for men, what about for women?
The damsel in distress isn’t a popular role today. Even Jane, in the movie, says she won’t scream like a damsel. No one wants to sit back, and wait for someone else to rescue you, minding the castle. But there was always honor for the damsels that waited faithfully; more ballads than I can count have been sung about the unfaithful lover. So what if the statement is reversed, and a standard for women is give: A normal woman will do the impossible to wait faithfully for the man she loves.
If I’m going to applaud the concept that an ordinary man will do the impossible to save the woman he loves, I should also applaud the concept that an ordinary woman will do the impossible to wait faithfully for the man she loves. There’s no part in this kind of a relationship for someone who does nothing. Waiting faithfully is not nothing.
Then there’s the next line of Jane’s statement:
My husband is not a normal man.
There’s no one who is normal. In our own ways, we are all weird. And that weirdness is a good thing, because that is what makes us human, and what makes us able to accomplish our given tasks in life. I’ve heard that each of us has one task for our lives, and that once we accomplish that we die, because we have fulfilled our purposes. I don’t precisely agree, because we have different purposes throughout our lives, as well as one defining purpose to be human.
Can any of us take this as our standard? To do the impossible for the people we love, and do it because we accept that we’re not normal? I don’t know. But I think it would be a great adventure to find out.