Character Admiration

My hero is a fictional character in the book The Stand by Stephen King. Nick Andros is a 22-year-old deaf and dumb drifter who has a tremendous character arc through the apocalyptic events of the novel. He is a tremendous leader despite his obvious shortcomings. It is perhaps his shortcomings that make him so strong and empathetic. I am so drawn to Andros because of his empathy which he never gets to express vocally, but through actions. Because he is one of the narrators of the book, the reader gets to understand how he interprets the people around him.

Nick has so many challenges throughout the story. The first of which is watching those who befriended him die of the plague while he remains healthy (being immune). He also gets taken advantage of during society’s collapse- being mugged and beaten by thugs.

He also has to take on leadership roles despite being unprepared- when the sheriff of the town he was residing in dies of the plague, he had to take the position to maintain order. Throughout the book, he constantly takes on new leadership roles. He is particularly understanding of one character: Tom Cullen, who is mentally handicapped. Since Tom couldn’t read and Nick couldn’t speak, the two couldn’t even properly communicate, yet they became close friends due to Nick’s compassion in taking care of Tom and leading him to safety. Tom Cullen became a purpose for Nick to keep soldiering through the apocalypse.

Andros’s death in the novel is even heroic- as he takes the brunt of an assassination attempt. Even after his death, he continues to play a role in helping people as he visits his friend Tom in spirit instructing him on what medication will save another badly wounded character’s life.

Still Not Indiana Jones

In 2007 I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I was twelve years old, and starting to wonder what I wanted to do with my life—for real this time—not like when I was four and wanted to be that guy on the back of the dump truck that got to jump off and toss the garbage bags into the back of the truck. It wasn’t like when I was six and wanted to work pumping gas because I loved the smell of petrol. I was old enough to know that aiming to become a sanitary worker or a gas station attendant wasn’t exactly setting my sights very high, but I wasn’t quite old enough to understand that the study of archeology was a far cry from what Spielberg portrayed in the Indiana Jones trilogy. So I adored Indiana Jones, and I loved to build things—specifically Legos. I swear my Lego collection combined with that of my older brothers’ created a literal hoard of multi colored toe-breaking plastic bricks.
December of 2007 was the month in which the Indiana Jones Lego series was released. I had to have every Lego set featuring the second plastic reincarnation of my favorite action star ever. I already had Harrison Ford as little plastic Han Solo, and was shaking in my boots for December 25th- when I’d surely have little plastic Doctor Jones to add to my collection. (On a side note, I swear I will buy my first Lego set after my long brick building hiatus if they ever release Harrison Ford as little plastic Deckard from Blade Runner). Christmas came around, and sure enough I was gifted two new Lego sets both of which were Indiana Jones themed.
The rest of this story comes together with another fateful Christmas gift. My dad bought my mom a brand new digital camera that same Christmas, and this meant that she didn’t need her old one anymore. Being the youngest in the family, I was no stranger to hand-me-downs; I had my first camera. A few days later I was playing around with my new toys and introduced photography to my Lego collection. What followed was something that I thought was some kind of momentous breakthrough in the world of photography. I would later learn that it was something called “Stop-Motion”. I realized that if I took a picture, moved a Lego figure, took another picture, moved them again, and repeated this process, I could recreate the iconic chase scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Being a resourceful young millennial, I used the internet to figure the rest of this whole stop-motion thing out, made myself a YouTube channel, and posted it for the world to see. I felt something foreign to me when I made this retrospectively shoddy 1-frame-per-second animation. I felt like I was doing something—well, for a lack of a better term—really freaking cool.
A few years later I found myself abandoning my Lego figures in favor of my friends who I had gotten hooked on this time based media train. I had a little production team- a camera man wielding my trusty used digital SLR I bought when I got tired of my mom’s old camcorder. All I had to do was post on Twitter that I needed actors, and my high school classmates would come to my aid. By the time I had finished the twelfth grade I had assembled a number of personal productions including a 26-minute-long Quentin Tarantino parody titled “Back Water Cats”, a surreal and frankly silly crime drama directed by and starring yours truly as Waldo from the Where’s Waldo book series (in which Waldo was a particularly hard to find serial murderer) called “Come Find Me”, and a mortifyingly amateur found footage horror flick I’d prefer not to talk about.
I think I know what I want to do with my life, and I owe that to little plastic Indiana Jones. That may be a little bold, as it may be more fitting to announce that I know the general field I want to pursue. I am eternally grateful I spent these four years at college acquiring invaluable guidance, proficiency in film software and hardware, and an eye for filling a frame. I am surely a shoe-in for that position as a gas station attendant.