Originally Posted by Tom Brennan
The picture is about a selfish, lazy bum who took a powder and left his family hanging with no word. He was the dysfunctional one, not the parents who evidently commited the great sins of working hard, being stoic, providing for his physical needs (a big deal in, oh, let's say Somalia) and---gasp---arguing in front of the kids.
Lazy? I don't think so. I doubt it was easier hiking across the country and slogging through the wilderness than simply staying home and mooching off his parents. And I think the selfish categorization might fit if only his parents had been a little less so themselves.
My parents were quite poor during the better part of my upbringing, but they loved each other and their children unconditionally. They worked hard at bringing home what little we had, but never caused us to doubt the fierce love they had for all of us. It had a dramatic effect on my outlook in life, and I wouldn't have traded my upbringing with McCandless' for anything. There's a huge difference between raising a child and simply growing one.
My opinion is that his parents' own self-involvement, stoicism and focus on material things had more to do with his sudden departure than any other influence.
Not all young people are idiotic, many put their nose to the grindstone and get on with the serious business of life.
Life need not be serious to be successful. I've never taken mine particularly seriously, yet I have a nice home in a great neighborhood, a loving wife, a good son, and a senior management position in a rapidly growing high-tech consulting company. All achieved primarily by following my own path and doing what's fun.
I'm glad you mastered the affect-effect thing. It gives me fits.
I really have to think about it to get it right