There are many unsung heroes in the world and only rarely do we see a movie made about one. I haven’t seen the other contenders for Best Picture but this film sure put some stock in their chances with superb acting, a perfect script, and some agonizing, nail-biting suspense. I can say this: it’s the Best Picture I’ve seen in quite some time and had it been up against some of the other Oscar winners from years past it could and should easily beat them out.
It was a good film to see as well because stories like these help put things in perspective. Sometimes when we’re down on our luck and get to feeling sorry for ourselves we need a reminder that there is always something worse. This was a movie that said to me, “you’ll get through this”. And I will.
I keep a little Matchbox taxi cab on my working desk–a yellow one like from the sitcom Taxi, one of my favorite TV shows. It’s my little talisman that reminds me that when things get bad, you can always be a cab driver. That’s certainly not a job I aspire to but it’s the words and the symbol that are meaningful here. You see, here in the U.S., we’re lucky. We really are. As long as you can keep a roof over your head and your kids healthy and safe, everything else is just icing on the cake. That’s what the taxi cab means. We don’t have to worry about dictators, about torture. We’ll have other worries, of course, those that come with simply being human: old age, disease, the loss of a loved one; and there’s accidents and horrible incidents like what we saw a few weeks ago. But in this country–though it certainly has its own set of woes and could be far better than it is–does grant its citizens a great deal of comfort. You always have a chance. The more education you have, the greater your skills, the better your chances. But in the end, all a CEO is doing is bringing home a paycheck. So is a cab driver. They decide their happiness for themselves, not based on their achievements or their salary. I also like to point out something my former stepdad told me a long, long time ago: a library is in just about every American town and city. Behind its doors is an education unparalleled. College is great, any kind of formal education is just great. But in the end we’re all just reading books. And the more you read, the more knowledge you have. And knowledge is the real power. Knowledge is the real currency.
I’ll step off my soap box now and leave you with a quote. It’s one of the best quotes in TV history and its tied up with my little taxicab talisman. It’s from the first episode of Taxi where Alex Reiger, played by Judd Hirsch, converses with a new cabbie, Elaine Nardo. She tells him she’s not really a cab driver but runs an art gallery during the day. Reiger responds:
“You see that guy over there? Now, he’s an actor. The guy on the phone? He’s a prizefighter. The lady over here? She’s a beautician. The man behind her? He’s a writer. Me? I’m a cabdriver. I’m the only cabdriver in this place.”