The Thing I Like About …

The Shift:  the part where Chad realizes he’s the problem.

In The Shift, Chad and his wife Denise are very well-off; they have a mansion, and a few cars, and a posh lifestyle.  They want for nothing.  Chad is a real-estate developer who does not understand why an activist group would want to stall his latest development project because of some ancient trees he wants to remove.  He doesn’t do philanthropy work because he got where he is without “handouts”, and he expects others to do the same.  When Denise tells him she is pregnant, he throws a fit, because he had never wanted children and he didn’t want to cramp his lifestyle.  He tells Denise he will divorce her and promises her that she won’t get a dime from him.  This reaction is unsurprising, since he has treated everyone, including Denise, with arrogance, selfishness, rudeness, and impatience.

Denise, understandably upset and angry about Chad’s reaction to her pregnancy, gets up from the table at the posh restaurant where he has made quite a scene, throws wine in his face, and drives off in their car – inadvertently taking his cellphone with her.  He had also left his wallet in their hotel room, and he is left stranded.

He walks further than he’s probably been asked to walk in a long while, and he sits on a park bench, in a shirt covered with wine stains, and he thinks about what has brought him to this point.  He interacts with a homeless man who tells him about the importance of trees.  He sits, and he thinks, and he slumps his little shoulders, and realizes that he’s been the one who is wrong.

It is, of course, the most horrible feeling in the world, and the weight of it bows his back and fills him with shame.

But once he has accepted this sad truth, he makes an instant course correction.  He stops, and turns around (metaphorically), helping some passersby push their car to the mechanic’s, where they in turn help him get back to the hotel.  He makes amends to his wife.  He decides to donate money to charity.  He learns how to share.  He has become a force of good – for his family and for the world in general.  And all he had to do was take a long, hard look in the mirror.

It didn’t kill him.

And it won’t kill any of us.

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