In the movie Me and you and everyone we know (2005) [i], the character Richard is a recently divorced, shy shoe salesman and father of two boys. In the opening scene, Richard is moving out of his house, essentially being kicked out by his wife. Richard is a plain man, and it is clear this divorce has seriously damaged his self-esteem and left him hurt and vulnerable. He describes how, when he was a boy, his uncle used to do a ‘trick’ of lighting his hand on fire. After telling the story, Richard decides to do the trick for his sons. He douses his own hand in gasoline and ignites it. At the last second, he remembers that the trick requires using alcohol, which burns off, not gasoline, which burns the flesh. So he seriously injures his hand, and has to wrap it in bandages. His hand heals slowly over the course of the movie.

His hand makes an excellent metaphor for his process of healing after he has ‘been burned.’ At first, his hand is so injured, so sensitive, so vulnerable, that it cannot even be exposed to the air. It has to remain under cover of bandage. Eventually he uncovers it, and marvels at how ‘sensitive’ the flesh still is. Slowly, his hand can tolerate touching things. This parallels the process of his emotional scars healing. In my opinion, this is an excellent example of how some people heal.


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“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”  – Alan Keightley


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“There are moments when we all become someone else, something other than what we are. It takes only a moment, but we spend the rest of our lives looking back at that moment in shame.”   – J. Michael Straczynski [ii]


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[i] Me and you and everyone we know (2005) is a quirky independent film that tests the limits of some taboos and explores how people struggle to connect with one another in an isolating and contemporary world.

[ii] Babylon 5 (TV series 1994-98)


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