“a long time ago, we used to be friends . . .” – Dandy Warhols <Veronica Mars theme song>
Ok … while this is about Logan’s cell answering messages <and teen Life lessons> … Logan was a great character in Veronica Mars. And Veronica Mars was a great show. I am relatively sure Kristen Bell <who was Veronica Mars> is a good actress … but her Veronica character was the PERFECT role for her. Really smart, in-your-face quick witted soundbite driven communicator, strong but sensitive … all the while balancing being a teen, a girl and a sense of maturity.
And while the show’s various mysteries and crimes were fairly well plotted <some stories were a little far out there> it was some great quick dialogue writing and some unbelievable soundbite moments that makes the show really work. For me? I struggle to remember long monologues <except maybe West Wing> but I constantly remember the short back & forth smart dialogue.
Veronica was not the only great character … there was Logan. A counterpart in quips.
High school Vice Principal: Mr. Echolls, may I have a word?
Logan: Anthropomorphic. It’s all yours, big guy.
The show was filled with little moments like this.
Logan’s cell phone answering message. One of the really fun aspects of the show was how this tortured rich kid <Logan Echolls> used different quotations in a tongue in cheek way on his cell’s answering machine that he likes to call “inspirational messages.” They were delightful in that they were delivered in a slightly sarcastic tone but also as true insight into how he felt <or what he … or any typical teen … was dealing with>. You were never really sure he was pulling your leg or trying to share a helpful thought. The writers treated it as an intermittent running gag. It was awesome … funny … a little wacky … and always relevant to the situation. It was real wisdom but dropped into the real life situations Logan seemed to constantly find himself in. And, frankly, as good TV shows do … they parallel our own Life situations on occasion.
Here are a few <and remember that he is quoting as a high school junior or senior guy>:
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
- Teens are in an odd, uncomfortable position in that almost their entire life is ahead of them … all their dreams remain on the horizon … and yet they are crossing into adulthood where reality has a nasty habit of forcing you to better assess your dreams maybe before you would like to. High school is a great place for dream building. And at exactly the same time … Life, in general, is a tough place for those who have dreams. This is where I really feel like teachers are in a very tough position in today’s society. Their real job is almost equally balanced between pragmatic teaching and hope building. They balance the possible and the impossible in almost every kid’s head. And, yet, parents are constantly pounding them on “why are you filling my kid’s head with all that nonsense … he doesn’t need to be dreaming … he needs to be thinking about doing.” Teachers are getting squeezed. And teens are getting confused.
Look. High school kids clearly understand reality. They know they will need a job. They know they need to be ‘good at something.’ And they know they need to do some things to insure they are prepared. We adults are smoking the wacky weed, or taking too many of those calming pills, if we do not believe that. We also are foolish if we do not understand that any Life transition moment <any … even as an adult> is challenging … and a little scary … as you leap from one spot to another. It drives me crazy that adults forget that shit.
Anyway. What makes Logan and Veronica Mars kind of special is that Logan knows all of this … and is going into adulthood kicking & screaming … while Veronica <who he loves> cannot wait to be an adult. The lesson to us adults? They both have dreams. And Veronica is no more valuable, better or exemplary than Logan because of this. People find their own timing with regard to knowing what they are going to do in Life.
“Adversity is the diamond dust with which heaven polishes its jewels.” -Thomas Carlyle
- We adults have a habit of scoffing <I just wanted to type that word> at what teens believe is ‘adversity’ in their lives and say things like “wait until you get into the real world” or “wait until you have the responsibilities of a family.” We are silly to do so. Adversity is relative. And, to a teen, adversity is often uncomfortably out of their control <because it more often at the mercy of their parents’ lives>.
So while there are some things they can control … there is a lot that is out of their control. And that is a maddening type of adversity. I surely don’t like it as an adult … and as a teen, when you still have all your dreams in front of you, it is also a little scary <and a LOT aggravating>. You know … the truth is that the significant majority of the time teens are doing the best that they can. Life and adversity is grinding away at them and they all pretty much believe <at that time in their life> that there really is a diamond somewhere inside them.
I wish more adults would remember that more often <and I wish more adults told teens there is a diamond in there>.
- Of course, as a teen, this is said sarcastically. Oh, and painfully at exactly the same time. Your first love is always that … the first. Trying to convince yourself that ‘losing a love is the next best’ is a losing battle. Almost everyone learns the truth of this quote at some point in their lives … but … the first is always the first.
This is one of those thoughts that sounds awesome theoretically but is a painful reflection of Life trial & error. I think this thought is even more powerful because it is being said by a teen guy … okay … a tough guy teen. Being a teen boy is a tricky balance. Lots of balancing in fact. As you wander from boy to young man there are some toughness, ‘manly man’ expectations involved … and emotions are an interior thing at a time where much of high school life is an exterior thing. The brilliance of Veronica Mars? Logan gets to maintain his exterior tough guy and decided to share the interior emotion via this faceless piece of third party technology … the cell phone answering machine.
We should remember that even the toughest appearing kids need some outlet for their interior thoughts. We can either give it to them … or they will find it for themselves.
“Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” -Ben Franklin
- When I heard Logan say this I almost laughed out loud. Teens collect experience moments at an amazing pace. And it is still not fast enough. While we old folk always joke that ‘kids always think they know everything’ … we are wrong. Very very wrong. They don’t. And they certainly don’t think that.
They are just doing the best they can with what they have. Sure. They may bluff through some moments <which is mostly a “I don’t want to look stupid” action rather than a real belief they know everything>. Sure. They wished they knew more and had more experience and were ‘wiser’ … but I don’t know one teen who didn’t wish he/she had some more knowledge. That doesn’t mean they believe all older folk know more than they do <would you as you look around at how some of us old folk actually act?> but they certainly recognize that they have a shitload more to learn. And they certainly wish they knew what they really needed to know to deal with some of the crap they have to deal with. We old folk need to remember that Life’s trial & error gauntlet, particularly at that age, ain’t fun.
And the last dose of wisdom, inspiration thought for the day, Logan will share with you today:
“If you dig deep enough, you’re going to find that everyone’s a sinner.” – Logan Echolls
This is a pretty thoughtful thought. Sin covers a lot … envy, greed, lust, etc.
and the real thought behind this is the true fact … no one is innocent … the only question is … how will you bear the guilt? Yeah. This thought is not really about ‘sinning’ or being a sinner but rather acceptance.
We all have flaws. We all make mistakes. We all have done some thing we are not proud of. The real question alll of us face is not whether we have sinned in some way or not but rather how we accept that which was done. In the show Logan was extremely flawed <as kids trying to figure things out typically are> but at his core he was a good ‘man in the making’ …
If you dig deep enough inside, you will find everyone is basically the same … we all have hopes & dreams & good intentions … and insecurities intertwined throughout. And we all work our way though our high school years hacking our way through all of them. And we do <and think> some stupid things at that time in our lives. Heck. Life bombards you with so many different challenges from so many different directions all at a time when you are trying to define your own character and establish whatever version of self esteem you will carry with you moving forward … it would be exceptional if you made no mistakes. If you dig deep enough into your memory banks for that time in life … we all have sinned in some way.
Give kids a break. Of all the times in a Life I cannot think of another when insecurities are as tangled up with good intentions … and ‘sin’ behavior. And we should give them a break because of what I typed earlier … ‘how will you bear the guilt.’ As a teen shapes themselves into young adults I tend to believe we would like them to use as little guilt as possible as they shape themselves for the future.
Veronica Mars is a smart show. And Logan is an added bonus. Maybe just as sharp as Veronica with a similar slightly cynical view of life. The combination of the two makes for an introspective look at the teen/young adult mind <in a pretty entertaining show>.
And the inspirational messages are a nice <sarcastic> reminder of the stuff teens deal with.