A reader gives thanks for ... 'The Big Lebowski'

05:00 AM, Nov 20, 2013

Jeff Bridges in 'The Big Lebowski.' Universal Studios Home Entertainment/


Written By by Scott Hertzog, Guest blogger for Pop Candy

Note: This entry, penned by Pop Candy reader Scott Hertzog, is part of a series about the pop culture we’re thankful to have in our lives. Readers are encouraged to contribute their own stories.

For some reason, I decided to be a teacher, and I am most certainly that.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my job, but the hours are insane, regardless of our “summers off.” What makes my job particularly exhausting is the countless hours I clock grading essays. Being an English teacher can be a zesty enterprise, to say the least.

And though I consider my analysis of each uninspired composition to be thorough, as I think to myself, “This is not ‘Nam. This is grammar. There are rules,” I can’t help but say, “F– it, Dude, let’s go bowling,” after a long day drained by adolescence from each of my own rural achievers.

If you haven’t guessed, I am most grateful for that piece of cinematic nirvana known as the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski.

I have a feeling many folks out there can relate to my choice. The Dude is just looking for a place to call his own, a lane to bowl on, and a rug underneath his feet. I think we can all relate to the Dude’s hazy quest for self-gratification.

I can always return to this absurdist, neo-noir crime comedy over and over again without becoming dissatisfied or disinterested. Many times I have put this movie on in order to usher me to sleep on a particularly exhausting day.

I think the film’s cyclical nature and solacing philosophy keeps me coming back. The film is a comforting companion when you want to escape for an hour and a half and experience the world of the Dude. The way the Dude handles the inconvenient events that befall him encourages me to attain his problem-solving methods to better alleviate my own personal troubles.

Regardless of the profession you’re in, this film has inspired me to simply say, “f– it” sometimes. We all get caught up in the prosaic and perfunctory goings-on of our lives and forget to detach ourselves for a while, unplug.

I’m thankful I have this pop-culture gem to return to whenever I need it — both on DVD and Blu-ray. We all want to be the Dude, and we all have been the Dude: scraping by on what money you have, finding enjoyment in the little things like bowling, or taking comfort in the stable nature of your friend circle.

This wildly quotable film has me laughing to myself when I talk to students and colleagues, and I can’t help but think that they should be catching these references. So when I’m feeling emotionally and professionally overwhelmed or mentally fatigued, I am truly thankful for this film and its Zen-like, stabilizing presence in my life.

It’s nice knowing that when I hold up a student’s paper in class, I can always ask, “Is this your homework, Larry?” and feel perfectly content with myself.

Previously:

- A reader gives thanks for … Degrassi

- A reader gives thanks for … The Simpsons

- A reader gives thanks for … Love Is a Mix Tape

- A reader gives thanks for … Wait Until Dark

- A reader gives thanks for … Ray Bradbury

- Whitney gives thanks for … Seinfeld

Share your story:

- Tell Whitney what pop culture you’re thankful for