When it’s better to be Scarlett

[pressit]One of the posts that has consistently gotten the most traffic on this blog over the years is one I wrote about “Would You Rather Be Melanie or Scarlett?” It was about the difference between getting attention (which Scarlett was good at) and having influence (which Melanie was better at).

However, this morning I was thinking about one way, or rather one particular situation, in which it would be better to be like Scarlett.

Ferreals.Because whether you think she was a decent human being or not (I lean towards not), Scarlett was nothing if not a FOCUSED person with EXCELLENT SURVIVAL SKILLS.

If Margaret Mitchell accomplished anything in writing Gone with the Wind, it’s that she made readers invest in a thoroughly unlikable character for a ridiculous number of pages. Scarlett is a wholly self-absorbed opportunist from beginning to end. She starts out the book viewing the horrors of war as a damn nuisance that’s going to seriously limit the number of parties in the neighborhood. She views the tragedy of human bondage as a thing that makes her life more convenient. And her horizons never expand beyond her own personal comfort and the sketchiest definition of wellbeing for the few people on her mental radar. Rhett is entirely accurate in saying she was a horrible mother. If you’ve only ever seen the movie, you don’t know about the other kids she had and abandoned with her sister, after stealing that same sister’s fiance.

Whether its a global issue (WAR! SLAVERY!) or a personal one (MY BFF’S MAN IS HAWT!), she’s amoral and solely interested in how it affects her personally. She becomes a bit more feral, and ambitious in a way, but she never matures in any real sense.

So I’m not in any way saying Scarlett O’Hara is someone you should emulate.

Except that whole “I’ll think about that tomorrow” thing.

You're goin down, baby.There are times in your life when your entirely decent and admirable inclination to think about others, or to worry about the Greater Problems of the World at Large, is a bad idea. There are times when spending your attention in deep philosophical concern for your fellow man will sink your battleship. Game over, man.

If you are already in a depressive episode, it is perfectly acceptable to put things like Global Warming and whether poetry and literary fiction will survive the changes in the publishing industry into a big box marked “I WILL THINK ABOUT THIS TOMORROW.”

If you are trying to get an eBook written and published every month, along with being a wife, mom, aunt, sister, employee and church member, and SOMEONE IS HORRIBLY WRONG ON THE INTERNET, it will be perfectly alright if you don’t click that link on Twitter or Facebook and spend the next half hour stewing in righteous outrage. Put that whole discussion into the big box marked “I WILL THINK ABOUT THIS TOMORROW.” By tomorrow, the internet will have moved on to a whole new outrage most likely, which will also be perfectly acceptable to consign to the box.

What I’m saying is, everyone has two To-Do lists. The one they’re going to spend energy on today, and the one consigned to tomorrow. Possibly.

Some times, some stuff needs to get shifted to that second list immediately.[/pressit]

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