Mister Magorium. Life is an occasion

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photo c/o FICG.mx

Over the Christmas break I reacquainted myself with Mister Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. I didn’t go looking for the movie, truth be told it found me half way through a box of chocolates and three glasses of Cote du Rhone. It’s an OK film with one scene in particular that knocks me for six. Mister Magorium (played by Dustin Hoffman) is talking with his assistant Molly Mahoney (played by Natalie Portman) about death. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from the script – see you at the other end of it.

Molly Mahoney: Are you dying?

Mr. Edward Magorium: Light bulbs die, my sweet. I will depart.

Mr. Edward Magorium: [to Molly] When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He’s written “He dies.” That’s all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is “He dies.” It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with “He dies.” And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it’s only natural to be sad, but not because of the words “He dies.” but because of the life we saw prior to the words.

[pause, walks over to Molly]

Mr. Edward Magorium: I’ve lived all five of my acts, Mahoney, and I am not asking you to be happy that I must go. I’m only asking that you turn the page, continue reading… and let the next story begin. And if anyone asks what became of me, you relate my life in all its wonder, and end it with a simple and modest “He died.”

Molly Mahoney: [starting to sob] I love you.

Mr. Edward Magorium: I love you, too. [picks Molly up, sighs heavily]

Mr. Edward Magorium: Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.

I love two things about this scene. First there is the observation on death. Described with beautiful simplicity, and the sadness it evokes. Not for death itself, but for the life that goes before. Second there is the observation on life. We are familiar with the term rise to the occasion, and I think linking that phrase with life itself is a master stroke.

Doing great work makes for a great life. Doing it because you love it, because it makes you want to rise to the occasion. Having already decided that 2012 is gonna be great, I am now seeing some clarity around how this will be so. More to follow, and you can bet that rising to the occasion of life will drive a great year. I hope it drives you too.

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