It’s not that we want other people to suffer from the various minor miseries of humanity. But it’s nice to know other people have them. Then we don’t feel so imperfect ourselves.
Hollywood movies are an example of extremes. Not everyday miseries. Hollywood is good at pointing to characters who suffer major problems like the loss of a loved one, cancer, alcohol, drug use and violence. But rarely does Hollywood tackle issues like eczema, hairloss, toothaches, athletes foot or yeast infections. Minor miseries that people suffer every day but mean a lot to us. Things that make us feel unattractive, sore and depressed.
There are of course exceptions. The Kings Speech comes to mind as a movie that pointed out an issue that was not life threatening, but an everyday misery for a given individual.
But usually the best we seem to get are drug commercials trying to push some new drug on us with a billion side effects. I don’t know about you, but I tend to tune those commercials out because they seem like nothing but a huge bag of depression I don’t want to hear about. Or I think to myself, I don’t have that problem so I don’t pay any attention to them.
It’s not like I’m anti-drug. I’m not one of those people. But I am skeptical and don’t believe that all problems have a solution contained in the form of a pill. If anything I’m one of those people that believe that life is about minor miseries. It’s just part of the package. As a result I’m more open to hearing stories about people who have them and don’t let them stop them from living their lives.
Which is why when i do have an issue that does relate to me, like eczema and I hear about someone I know also having it, I almost feel good. Not because i want them to suffer, but because I can relate to them. I don’t feel so alone or imperfect. I realize at those moments that Hollywood really fails us for not pointing them out and making us feel better about not being perfect. They don’t need to be the center of the story, but it would be nice to see an action movie where the main character has an issue taking the shot because his foot itches like a motherfucker and is very distracting.