The Two Second Lesson

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Remember the movie Cast Away (2000) with Tom Hanks? It was a bit of snoozer because for a large portion of the film Tom’s character, Chuck, is alone on an island. He doesn’t want to be alone, he wants to be rescued but alas, no rescue comes. Probably a message in all that but it drags a bit. The movie has been playing on a couple of television stations recently and I’ve been able to become reacquainted with it. I watch it for a two second lesson hidden in a two hour movie.


Here’s how I watch it: sometimes I watch the beginning, skip the middle, and usually tune in for the end after he is rescued. What? I said it drags a bit when he is on the island.

I know, I know, I’m sending mixed messages here. Why bother even watching it at all if I don’t watch the whole thing? I watch it because there is one scene that has provided a dialogue exchange for me to ponder.

It’s a small throwaway moment between Chuck and his friend Stan. They discuss the fact Chuck’s friends had a funeral for him despite not having a body to bury. But then he thinks about it and realizes after his funeral his friend Stan had to bury his wife. Here’s the lesson: Chuck sincerely apologizes.

He doesn’t make excuses even though he had a pretty good reason for missing it. In his hand he held the ultimate ‘circumstances beyond my control card.’ He just apologizes for not being there for his friend during his trial and for adding to his trouble.

Later, he apologizes to his ex-girlfriend. Again, he could have said, “It wasn’t my fault.” “I was on a deserted island.” “Why didn’t you rescue me?” He simply says, “I’m so sorry.”

I realize this is a fictional character but wouldn’t it be great if more people said well-placed sincere apologies instead of spouting excuses first? If we all took a little more ownership on how our actions affect other people? What kind of world would that be?

That’s why I watch the end of Cast Away. Just to be reminded of the two second lesson hidden in the two hour movie.

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