From William Shakespeare to Neil Simon every play has a few leading roles plus a lot of smaller parts. The bit players or spear-carriers. They enter and exit only briefly, some to be seen just once. And yet the plot wouldn’t work without them.
How many of these players populate the script of your drama? Probably more than you realize. Maybe this would be a fine time to look up their names on your program. You’ll discover scores, even hundreds. And just maybe you popped up in their dreams last night.
Take the sweet cookie-making neighborhood lady when you were a kid….or the delivery man who never failed to make you feel important as he dropped by mom’s kitchen…or some of the teachers and janitors and clergy in your schools who showed a flash of respect for your young efforts back when you needed some adults to respect you…or those occasional dates and bosses and doctors and head waiters who seemed to be there with just the right words when you wanted someone to believe you were right.
Their names? Dates? Details? Probably long forgotten, yet those little payoffs were so appreciated at the time. Given enough recollection they can still fizz like the bubbles in a champagne, still make you feel sorta nice and giggly inside. Long ago feelings you haven’t felt for a long time, but as you count them up, you start to see how those bit players in your play added to its narrative. Helped flesh out its plot. Helped get you from there to here.
So think of it this way.
In ways and whys you’ll never fully understand, you may make a brief appearance in some dreams this night. Because you had a bit part in these dreamers’ lives over the years. Lives who in turn had a bit part in yours. That’s the way a lifetime happens. We and they are somehow written into the same story if only for a brief moment or two. And how perfectly remarkable, because nameless bit players have been so indispensable throughout so much of history…
…say like Hannibal’s elephant drivers, Da Vinci’s marble miners, Columbus’ helmsmen, Newton’s apple farmer and all those folks you’re trying to count up right now.
Filed under: Uncategorized