Tag Archives: life lessons

The Tao Of Charlie (Life Lessons From “So I Married An Axe Murderer”)

The film So I Married An Axe Murderer , starring the inimitable Mike Myers, is a work of pure genius, combining physical and cerebral comedy with exemplary instruction in navigating this mortal coil.

You may be thinking whaaaaaat? but hear me out, okay?  Okay?   Okay.

Warning: Here there be spoilers.

1. Trust Your First Impressions
Case in point: Charlie meets Rose.
Can anyone play nutjob better than Amanda Plummer?  I think not.

Charlie: (as Rose attempts to hit him with an axe) What the FUCK?!

Life Lesson: So many of us take pains to ignore our gut instincts when we meet someone.  We’re told it’s not fair to pigeon hole others (at least not before getting to know them better).  However, there’s a damn good reason we have gut instincts to begin with, so by all means keep an open mind, but when your first impression screams ‘this person is batshit crazy!’ trust that you could be on to something.

You are a total nutcase, completely deranged, delusional, paranoid. Your thought process is all fucked up. Your information train is jammed, man!

2. TV and Movies Are Better Than Real Life
Case in point:  Tony.  Poor Tony.  He became a cop with visions of chasing guys across a crowded city square, hanging on to that part of a helicopter. (You know that part? Underneath the thing that it lands? Do you, do you know that part?)  And he’s never even commandeered a vehicle.

Tony Giardino: Excuse me sir, I’m with the San Francisco police department, this is official police business. I would like to commandeer this vehicle!
Commandeered Driver: No.

Life Lesson: Watch movies constantly.  Avoid real life whenever possible, it’s bound to disappoint.

No. No, there’s not.

3. Relationships Are Hard
Case in point: Charlie and Harriet.  Charlie is a commitmentphobe.  Harriet is possibly Mrs. X., who kills off her husbands.
It’s a match made in Heaven, obviously.

Charlie Mackenzie: I’m afraid you’re gonna ki – leave me.
Harriet Michaels: That I’m gonna cleave you?

Life Lesson: Oftentimes in life, people need to step back and get their shit together before they can make a relationship work.  At least, this is how it pretty much works in the movies: good times, followed by conflict, followed by conflict resolution = better times.  No guarantees, though (refer to Life Lesson #2).

4. The Unknown Is Usually Best Left That Way
Case in point: haggis.
Exception: Paul Haggis.

Harriet Michaels: Do you actually like haggis?
Charlie Mackenzie: No, I think it’s repellent in every way. In fact, I think most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.

Life Lesson: Avoid the unfamiliar.  Nothing good can come from eating food simmered in an animal’s stomach.

5. Be Honest
Case in point:  Tony the cop, attempting to go undercover

Charlie Mackenzie: So Tony, what’s the deal with your clothes?
Tony Giardino: What do ya mean?
Charlie Mackenzie: You look like Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch.

Life lesson: No matter how it may hurt their feelings, never let a friend go out looking like a 1970s pimp.

6. Coffee.Is.The.Best.Thing.Ever

Case in point: Scene 1, Charlie being served at Cafe Roads.

Charlie Mackenzie: Excuse me, miss? There seems to be a mistake. I believe I ordered the *large* cappuccino. *Hello!* Look at the size of this thing.
Tony Giardino: It’s practically a bowl.
Charlie Mackenzie: It’s like Campbell’s Cup-O’-ccino!
Charlie Mackenzie: [laughing at his Campbell’s joke and wiping his tears] Oh, My sides. Please. Aidez-moi.

Life Lesson: No amount of coffee is too much.
MM Coffee

7. Poetry And Alliteration Go A Long Way When Wooing
Case in point: Charlie attempts (and succeeds) in getting Harriet back

Charlie Mackenzie: Harriet. Harry-ette. Hard-hearted harbinger of haggis. Beautiful, bemuse-ed, bellicose butcher. Un-trust… ing. Un-know… ing. Un-love… ed? “He wants you back,” he screamed into the night air like a fireman going to a window that has no fire… except the passion of his heart. I am lonely. It’s really hard. This poem… sucks.

Life Lesson: Learn to rhyme, or at least put together some interesting stream-of-consciousness prose. Ya never know.

MM Poetry

8. Things Can Always Be Worse

Case in point:  Stuart’s anniversary speech to May.

Stuart Mackenzie: Thirty years ago today, May and I were married. Some of you were there, some of you weren’t born, and some of you are now DEED! But, we both said “I do,” and we haven’t agreed on a single thing since.
May Mackenzie: That’s true!
Stuart Mackenzie: But I’m glad I married you, May, because hey, could’ve been worse.

Life Lesson: Groove on what you got, not what you don’t, because it could really suck more.  Really.

May, shut it!  Turn off the Bay City Rollers! The soccer game's about to start!

May, shut it! Turn off the Bay City Rollers! The soccer game’s about to start!

9. The Scottish Are The Undisputed Extreme Party Champions Of  The Universe

Case in point: Stuart Mackenzie

Stuart Mackenzie: [after Charlie and Harriet have been married] Let’s get pissed!
Stuart Mackenzie: [after exhausting a bagpipe player at Charlie and Harriet’s wedding]
We have a piper who’s down! Repeat, Piper Down!

Life lesson:  Don’t try to outdo ’em.  Just sit back and admire.

Why,  yes, yes I *am* Scottish.

Why, yes, yes I *am* Scottish.

10. And last but not leastSometimes The Conspiracy Theorists Are Right
Case in point: Stuart conveys his unique worldview to Tony.


It’s a well-known fact, Sonny Jim!

Life Lesson:  Listen to the crazy people.

And here’s The La’s to sing us out with There She Goes:


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Filed under Advice and How To, Film, Life In General

You’re Supposed To Sing (Or Dance)


I’ve been doing a fair bit of pondering on this remarkably journey we’re all taking.  Each person doing exactly the same thing – living – while at the same time, each doing it in a totally unique way.

In the Western world, there appears to be a set pattern for at least the first 17 years, and that’s school.  Lots of it.  Pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school, sometimes a middle school for the 6th to 8th grades, then high school.  Afterward, many of us go on to university and post-graduate work.  Then the jobs, or, for  some, the careers.

That’s all well and good; I know several people who traversed the system relatively unscathed and are currently living fulfilling and happy lives.

However, looking back, if I were to speak solely to my own experiences, I’d posit that the established ‘system’ didn’t particularly work for me.

In elementary school, I was a shining star.  I was polite and well turned-out, I knew my lessons, had many friends, was active and happy.  I loved to be  quizzed on what I knew, be that math, spelling, geography, or what-have-you.  I drew and wrote constantly. I was going to be a writer, an artist, get married at 24 and have two, perfect children (the paper fortune teller confirmed this).  The world was full of promise.


In grade six, I moved to Toronto for the school year.  Scared the shit out of me, that did.  I continued to write, though; it had become a refuge.  The city was unfamiliar, grey, loud and dirty and the kids didn’t like me all that much (except for Max H. and Connie C., without whom I’d never survived, who took me in and introduced me to good music and community).   Grade seven brought me back to Burlington, but by then, all of my friends had formed new groups and I spent the next two years feeling like an interloper.  I had great hopes for high school, starting fresh.

Ah, yes…high school.  While I can’t honestly say it was a torture, I don’t look back on it particularly fondly.  I had already begun to lose my way, getting in trouble fairly frequently, my grades suffering, my relationships beginning to appear more than moderately unhealthy. I was intelligent, but bored and unchallenged, and that made my way treacherous. My writing trailed off around then.  Yet throughout those years, I’d always maintained this niggling suspicion in the back of my mind that I was destined for better things…and when It came along,  I’d know It when I saw It.

Cut to 25+ years later…I’ve been out in the world, I’ve worked, I’ve seen a whole bunch of neat stuff, done a whole bunch of cool things, married, had children.  And yet that Itch For The It remains, and I believe much of that is due to a lifelong inkling that I’m the idiomatic square peg attempting to conform to the round hole (at least when it comes to the traditional way of doing things).

I now have a daughter who is a bit of a square peg, herself.  I thought of her as I listened to this talk Music And Life by Alan Watts, and realized that her journey is really just starting out, and the paths and possibilities are endless.  I have resolved to become far more diligent in reminding her that this journey, this pilgrimage, is a musical thing, and that you’re supposed to sing, or dance your way through it.

In doing so, I hope to remind myself, and perhaps move ever closer to that elusive It.

For more information about the wonderful Alan Watts, please go here.


Filed under Health and Wellness, Wanderings