The Oil Rigs

*cover photo is not my own.

Yesterday in English class our teacher asked us to think of a movie that we watched as a child and then re-watched later and interpreted differently. And no, she said, I don’t mean that you just watched it again and got all the jokes that went over your head. One guy said Forrest Gump, and a girl mentioned Gossip Girls; I hadn’t seen either. I jotted Peter Pan down on my notebook page, but I figured there must be a better example that I wasn’t remembering.

Then today I thought back to The Rookie, maybe that’s a better example. As a kid, one of the exciting parts about going to other people’s houses was their movie collection. Grandma had The Rookie. I remember watching it several times. There are a few scenes in that movie that are really beautiful. This one is my favorite:

I’m no movie critic, but that is magic in my eyes.

But anyway, there’s another scene, a short one, that I’ve also never forgotten. It goes like this in the transcript,


What are those things?

Jimmy: What?

Those things moving up

and down?

Oil rigs.

When those things

are moving up and down,

it means times are good.

Looks like times are good.

And let me tell you friends, I saw a few oil rigs today.

I saw receipts on which people added a tip out of generosity – they chose to pay more than was required of them. And I watched a lady across the counter donate seven American dollars to an organization that helps Asian kids get a college education. I went to a free jazz concert, where the kids played for the love of music and got an encore. And I talked with a girl who started a campus piano club to teach music to anyone who wanted to learn. I ate a meal at The Cookout for $3.62, a twentieth of a day’s wages. And I drove past establishments with self-checkouts, where companies trust their patrons to pay fairly, un-supervised. This afternoon I was surprised to learn that the other five people in the room were Christians too. And tonight I left my car unlocked in our driveway, walked inside, and wrote these words. Tomorrow at 9:05 a.m. I’ll walk into history class and learn about a time when these things were not so.

Say what you will about hell in a hand-basket, but the oil rigs are still moving up and down.

Published by javenbear

Javen Bear is 25 years old and lives with his beautiful wife Aleisha in Phoenix, Arizona. He's a graduate student in a mental health counseling program at Grand Canyon University where he also works as an admissions representative. Javen’s super-power, if he had one, would be the ability to press pause on the world and catch up on reading. He enjoys talking walks with his wife, playing guitar, and always uses Oxford commas.

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