For a while now I have been toying around with the concept of classifying people. It started when president Obama came to our town and talked at my workplace. My in-laws suggested that I try to meet him. Maybe I could become one of those people that he talks about on the campaign trail like Joe the plumber. My response at the time was that I was closer to a character in a novel than I was to a political example.
Since then, I have put more thought into this. What makes a person a good political example and what makes a person a good character in a novel. Political examples need to be easily summed up and identifiable. We should easily be able to relate to them and see them as caricatures of American ideas.
On the other hand, novel characters need to have quirks and traits that are not easily summed up. They need to live and breathe without easily being summed up. Anyone who sums up Harry Potter as the boy who lived misses a great deal of the story. If he had only been that small sound bite, J.K Rowling would be a lot poorer.
Unfortunately, novel characters also tend to have pretty crappy lives. Things are always going wrong. There are too many mysteries to be solved. Their loved ones are in danger or their romantic lives are twisted into tiny little knots. If their lives were not a little twisted, it would be no fun to read about them.
Which is an easier life? If I had to chose, I think I would have gone with the interesting novel character. They sound like interesting people that I would want to have as a friend sometimes. Unfortunately, my life is veering towards political example.
I am going back to school in July. I am being replaced by a person from China. All the Americans are leaving my work group and being replaced by people on H1B Visas from other countries. I feel my life being stretched into two sentence sound bite, but I can’t tell which side would take me. Do I represent the need for stronger science education or do I stand for those who are against higher volumes of H1B Visas?
I think I’ll just hide under a rock and refuse to talk to any politicians until this whole thing blows over. Maybe I can find myself a place in a nice women’s fiction book as a supportive character. Maybe I could be the best friend who helps the troubled single mom find her true love. I just have to find the right group of women.