In Our Mind
Off the Wall, January 8,

The human brain is complex, we all know that. Contained within are control mechanisms that dictate our movements, sleeping habits and thought processes. The latter will keep us in line most the time, but may also cause us to walk down the wrong paths if we give into temptations.

One may say that I’m referring to reaching to that candy bar when it is known that it has too much sugar, or stealing an item which we feel we must have, but can’t afford it. But, what I’m going to talk about today is something that fits into the category of temptation, but maybe not something thought of as such.

Dee Videe loved a television series. She started watching it while doing chores. Before she knew it, the weekly tasks were put on the back burner when the program aired. She would plop down in her favorite chair and watch the family episode. It got to the point that she was so familiar with each of the characters that she felt very much a part of what was going and could identify with them.

Before they made any statements, movements or talked back to their parents, she felt as though she was in their shoes the whole nine yards.

One day Dee decided to take it one step farther. She went into her computer room and decided to see if each of the family members lived up according to her expectations as she would live. After all, she had not only visited the local shop where DVDs were sold, but also purchased the whole entire set of every episode of this television program that could be replayed over and over again on her DVD player. How exciting it must have been for her to have a complete set of the television personalities she idolized.

Pulling up the head of the family, Harry Baldihed, she had hoped he was the staunch Christian that her parents had taught her to be. Instead, he turned out to be active in the Buddhist religion. She was shocked, to say the least. Certainly, the mother had to be a Christian. After all, the two always talked about going to and coming home from church with the family. Her chin fell to the ground when she learned Bernadette was an atheist who played the role of one who worshipped God.

So, the kids sometimes went to Harry’s temple or nowhere on Saturdays or Sundays.

Dee decided, beyond those disconcerting facts, maybe there was still hope as to the children’s lives. After all, she had kids and grandkids and wanted to have them fit right in to acting as the same way, as that of her grandchildren.

One of the three offspring, fourteen year-old Jacob, loved playing football for his school. “Wow,” Dee thought, “there is hope after all.” But when not playing ball, he was caught selling drugs on the side and hauled into court where he had to pay a hefty fine.

But this person wasn’t the only one looking to actors or famous people as idols in their lives.

Johnny Kanawalk loved his western movies. When asked who his favorite cowhand was, he would blurt out, “You know who I love, Whirley “Whip ‘em” Whipenhogen!” He never thought of digging into his background to see that “Whip ‘em” had notorious bad habits. He suffered from the disease of alcoholism and only appeared on the set no more than 45 minutes a shoot. Of course, this was in his later years after he became famous.

Finally, Robbie Stagengigel was a Hollywood personality that everyone, including Flora Kittenhaben, idolized. His acting in his stories always made people laugh. To this day, people often smile when they hear his name. What viewers didn’t know is that this individual had emotional problems that led him to do things that many of us wouldn’t ever think of doing.

Even though these stories are fabricated somewhat, all are true with the names changed to protect all involved.

Believe it or not, I was one of the naïve that got swallowed up by believing these “actors” are living the lives they portray. I was taken aback at one time when I learned that these people, playing a particular part, had completely different lifestyles.

In our minds we may idolize individuals by placing hope that there are others who live as we do. Forget it! Always place your hope in God. He will not disappoint you as man will.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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