Sunday, October 12, 2008

Adults of the Corn

Why do we do what others want instead of what we want? Is it for acceptance? Are we fearful of punishment? What is it?

I think Rod Serling, the creator of the original Twilight Zone episodes of the 1950s, was ahead of his time. One of his episodes covered this 'what others want/fear' topic.

The story begins with adults at a birthday party for a young boy named Billy. For some reason, everyone looks a little scared as they sing "Happy Birthday" to him. After singing, they play games and sing along with the piano player or records. One of the men asked Billy if they could play something else because they've been listening to the same song umpteen times. Everyone looks horrified at the man. Everyone tells Billy that the man didn't mean it. The man was just playing, they say.

Billy doesn't want to hear this. He looks at the man, squints his little eyes, and the man disappears. Everyone goes on as if nothing has happened. They continue to celebrate. As the episode goes on, you realize that when you don't agree with Billy, he does things to you. He'll turn you into a jack-in-the-box, remove your mouth, or banish you to some cornfield in the middle of nowhere, to serve the rest of your life (I think as a scarecrow). That's what happened to the man at the beginning of the episode. Life as a scarecrow. You better agree or else.

Years ago, there was a movie called Children of the Corn. I think it was inspired by the aforementioned Twilight Zone episode. I never saw the movie, but I think there were possessed children doing the biddings of the evil cornfield. A while back, some ladies and I were 'Adults of the Corn'.

Five of us went out to eat at an Applebee's. One of them was definitely the Billy of our group. No one spoke because she was in a bad mood, no one ordered until she did, and she was mean to the wait staff. Later on, she yelled at one of the group ladies for yawning too much (crazy, I know). For some reason, no one called her out on this childish behavior. Why? Because when she wasn't acting like a Billy, she was fun, lively, and exciting. You were accepted by others if you were in her crowd. It was like being in the in-crowd from high school, even though we were in our 20s and 30s.

Why have you done what others want?


Katie said...

I feel that way at work a lot. I think I do things just so that I don't ruffle feathers. Sometimes it's easier to let others get their way sometimes than it is to fight. Sometimes though you really do need to dig your heels in and fight the good fight....

VADRMGRL said...

True, Katie. I've also been hesitant to ruffle feathers. But it comes back to bite me in the behind when I do that. Now I make sure I state my feelings in a non-hurtful way. That seems to do the trick.