Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wile E. Coyote is my hero!

There's not a lot you can learn from the Road Runner, but the Coyote knows the secret of wealth. In September, 1949, the Coyote - Carnivorous vulgaris - built a catapult. But instead of launching him toward the Road Runner, it launched him straight up into a stone outcropping. The Coyote crawled out of the hole and went back to work.

In December, 1955, the Coyote - Eatibus almost anythingus - waited anxiously for the Road Runner to come around a corner, then lit the fuse of a cannon. But instead of firing the cannonball, the entire cannon - with the Coyote behind it - fired backwards into a mountain wall. Again the Coyote crawled out of the hole and went back to work.

In May, 1980, the Coyote - Nemesis ridiculii– climbed aboard a rocket, aimed it toward the Road Runner on the opposite side of the canyon and lit the fuse. The fuel and nosecone of the rocket launched out of the rocket hull, leaving the Coyote sitting aboard that empty cylinder. He fell, annoyed, to the canyon floor. The Coyote climbed out of the canyon and went back to work.
Are you beginning to see a trend here? The Coyote – Inevitablius Succeedus - never gives up.
The Coyote is Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea. After 84 consecutive days of not catching a fish, the old man rises before dawn and pulls steadily on the oars until he is far beyond the sight of land.

The Coyote is Rowan of A Message to Garcia. Alone behind enemy lines, outnumbered thousands to one, Rowan never considers the impossibility of his mission, but doggedly attempts the ridiculous until he casually accomplishes the miraculous.

The Coyote is Quixote, foolishly committed to a questionable quest, paying his pint of blood daily without complaint, never wavering in his enthusiasm, never doubting he will ultimately succeed.
When we were young and fast and invincible, the Road Runner was our hero. Impervious to danger, the Road Runner ran without tiring, scooted without fear and beep-beeped coolly like a blue James Bond. But as I look down now from this creaking tower of years, I see it was the Coyote who deserved my admiration. That TV show was never about the Road Runner. It was always about the Coyote. The Coyote was determined.

"Determined" is a word much misunderstood. Obstinate people are not determined. They merely suffer from too much pride. Stubborn people are not determined. Stubbornness is willful ignorance. Determination is an unblinking willingness to pay the price as often as it must be paid. Determination is never losing sight of your objective, no matter what comes along to distract you. Determination is endurance.

How about you? If Failure appears without warning and throws you onto the rocks below, will you happily crawl out of that smoking crater and go back to work?

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