I might have once wanted, a long time ago, and just for a brief moment when I didn’t know any better, didn’t know myself any better, to be Johnny Depp. Not really though—not enough to watch all of his movies, learn the guitar or grow my hair long. At least not any more.
I wouldn’t be the first that once did though. A former workmate, one of the most selfish, narcissistic people I have yet had the“pleasure” of working with—yet extremely funny and strangely charismatic—admitted to me that he was secretly in love with Johnny Depp. In an innocent way I am sure, or certainly hope.
While I have yet to buy the 21 Jump Street box set, there is something about this former wanna-be rock star, effortlessly-is movie star that is eminently likable—he exudes charm, and of course untouchable“cool.”
Still, news that he will play the lead in the adaptation of Shantaram, a physically intimidating Aussie hard man with a heart of gold and mastery of Marathi as well as Ocker raises my eyebrows at least. For all that Johnny Depp is a character, I’m not so sure he is the best character actor, or at least a master of accents, although admittedly late 20th Century Australian is hardly the definition of elocution—electrocution maybe?
The following video clip from Reuters is a case in point. It is truly one of the oddest things I have ever seen. Is he in character? Out of character? Temporarily out of his head? Just why is he speaking with one of the strangest accents—at times Irish, at times American, most of the time garish, very much hard to believe?
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I may be mistaken about Depp’s accent. I often and happily am mistaken—joyful surprises can’t always be guessed or assumed.
Perhaps Depp is similar to a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, who, in one of the funniest, most irreverent TV news clips I have to this day seen, part of a series that almost had the TV channel in question censored by an outraged Government, was shown, or mercilessly mocked really, speaking in a different accent to every foreign dignitary he met, seemingly at some subconscious level picking up on and then mirroring the inflection and delivery of the people he was talking to—outrageously funny with the German foreign minister and the American ambassador, but completely surreal with the Dalai Lama.
A cross-talking, muddle-mouthed habit ripe for the ribbing it is true, but just maybe evidence of a very adaptable, flexible personality—in a spiritual sense oneness even?
To divert down the shaded path of memory just a little further, I am reminded that my Johnny Depp infatuated co-worker confounded rash judgement and assumption of character when his girlfriend suffered a sudden brain clot, standing by her through months in a coma and then a year and a half barely out of, fighting her family with all parts heart and concern to secure better care, which he finally achieved.
I have been taught this lesson over and over—not to judge a book by it’s cover—or once inside, make assumptions before getting to the end. It is so easy to write people off, to assume we know them better than we really do, and to have the arrogance to believe that our fleeting impression of only a fraction of their lives represents the sum total. Or the only possibility.
Fate, the universe or the unseen hand of destiny—call it what you will, but life has a funny way of teaching us the lessons we need to learn—a person famously, proudly without a heart taught how to have one, even if for just one person, and just for a while. And I was shown to listen more to mine, rather than myopic first impressions.
Some would suggest that there was an element of fate in his girlfriend’s misfortune—crossed stars, tangled charts bringing two souls together to meet their mutual karma, and that may well be so, but who am I to pass judgement or claim proud omnipotence—the laws of the universe no writ to be heartless.
I am reminded of an aphorism by Sri Chinmoy that chides the short-sightedness of pride often, reminds this slow learner to treat others as he himself would like to be treated:
Be kind, be all sympathy,
For each and every human being
Is forced to fight against himself.
Aged around fourteen I was taught this lesson in a most powerful way. My mother, talking idly one evening about a workmate, mentioned a son of similar age who had just been through a particularly unpleasant experience, and whom was now doing very well despite of. Without a thought for what I was saying, the fact I had never met this person or didn’t know a thing about them, I made an incredibly callous, beyond flippant remark, shocking my mother and earning her gasped rebuke. And perhaps fate’s sharp retort as well, for I went through the same experience myself not long afterwards.
It’s just too perfect—I really can’t resist. Broaching the topic of a Girlfriend in a Coma, a one time only excuse to play The Smiths’ song of the same name. And while we’re watching the YouTube, mention the comment of one viewer, an actual girl in a coma who describes the experience of five day blackness thus:“No it just feels like a deep sleep.” Some would argue awakening from a coma to the crooning voice of Morrissey, as this person actually did, enough to send them back under, but I’ve a long worn soft spot for this eccentric wearer of blouses, prancing bearer of gladioli, cultural highpoint of 1980’s popular music.