If you have never been in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day, let me just tell you it’s an island of drunks surrounded by drunks.
While riding the subway this past Saturday (St. Patty’s Day) and minding my business, a drunk New York University student in his late teens said to me, “What are you reading?”
“The Hunger Games,” I told him.
“What? What’s it about?”
If you’ve also been snakebit by a feverish passion to finish The Hunger Games, you completely understand how annoying it is to be reading it while interrupted by a friend, let alone a drunk person.
But the drunk was persistent, “Dude what’s it about?”
I was hoping to say the thing that would least interest a drunk frat boy…“It’s about effeminite football players who leave the NFL to open a chain of nail salons in Dubai.”
“Dude, why are you reading that crap? Sounds terrible.”
“Shhhhh,” I said to the drunk. I just wanted to continue reading.
Trust me, when you are knee deep in The Hunger Games, bow-legged leprachauns could shoot out of your as-hole chanting the Anusara invovcation, and you still would NOT put this book down. It’s THAT riveting.
I walked to another part of the train where across from me was another man around my age also readingThe Hunger Games. Please note the book is intended for teenage women.
This other man and I looked at each other in the way that you’d look at someone with a strange addiction to an odd substance being purposefully injected in the wrong orafice.
Pretending to never see him, I buried my head back in the book and continued my race to the finish.
THE HUNGER GAMES
23.5 million copies sold and counting and a movie which opens Friday and is expected to smash box office records, The Hunger Games is exploding past its tipping point.
The Capitol of Panem, a highly advanced metropolis, holds absolute power over the rest of the nation.
The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl aged 12 to 18 from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol are selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive.
A book about teenagers fighting to their death? Why the appeal?
I found myself rooting hard for the hero of The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen, to find a way to survive against all odds.
She was scared, I was scared, and being scared is something so totally normal in today’s world.
We’ve been told to be scared of terrorists, scared of wars, scared of the bottom falling out of the economy.
The media pushes societal fear which in turn ignites our personal fears which in turn transforms our lives into a giant conflagration of fear.
SLAYING THE DRAGON
Everyone is scared of something. Running out of money. Getting rejected in love. Never finding a purpose. Losing your health. Dying.
Like any great movie that embodies Joseph Cambell’s template for the hero’s journey, The Hunger Gamesawakens the sometimes dormant warrior archetype that exists in all of us.
The mission of the warrior is to slay the dragon known as Fear, right in the heart.
Because if you spend your whole life running from Fear, you will miss your purpose…in the same way that you’d drive right past the hard-to-see offramp because you’re driving too fast.
As stated in the new and amazing documentary Finding Joe, “The soul’s journey is about facing fear and going beyond it. As we overcome fears, we gain power.”
So let’s take a note from Katniss Evergreen, Luke Skywalker, Clark Kent, and all the characters that evoke our fascination because they have slayed the dragon, overcome the kryptonite, beheaded the monster…
…There are many roads we can take in life…many paths to follow…but there’s only one road marked “The hero’s journey.”
As Joseph Campbell said, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”