My Life, In a Gump-Shell


In the act of coining words, concepts and processes, I’ve decided to name the whole genre attributable to what I’ve made-up as “Randyisms”.


The movie, Forrest Gump, has that underlying concept as a storyline, as well, propelling the movie forward via the story of the protagonist’s lifetime, and of his having inspired just about every conceivable notable concept and product of his times: the American sense of innocence of the 1950’s (redolent throughout, as this is the backdrop of Forrest Gump’s “coming up” or “coming of age” years, in which the times leave an indelible imprint on its generation); the Vietnam War era (“For VA purposes, in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations Chapter 38 Paragraph 3.2 (f), the Vietnam Era is ‘The period beginning on February 28, 1961 and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. The period beginning on August 5, 1964 and ended on May 7, 1975 inclusive, in all other cases.'” –; (update) accessed January 10, 2017: ( the backlash against it; the “smiley-face” design of the 1960’s; the running craze of the ’70’s; and more.


There is much about this movie which reminds me of myself. Even in reading a few recent written reviews of the film, the main character, Forrest Gump, played in the movie most splendidly by Tom Hanks, is decribed as a slow-witted person, or as one who is perceived as someone with limited intellectual abilities.


It’s funny that the particular review, which first came up in my internet search, mentions Forrest’s obliviousness to this aspect of his character, and portrays his mother in a kindhearted, supportive role as his ever-eternal cheerleader, encouraging his pursuits in any endeavor in which he engages.


Much as the way Forrest is described, I see the prism of the movies’ premises reflected as if through the eyes of Forrest Gump, myself. I see the viewpoint of Forrest as being someone who takes everyone and everything at face-value, without pondering that anyone could ever have something besides good intent in their nature, leading to a non-judgemental outlook on life and everyone in it. It’s, truthfully, the way I was, too, growing up.


It hasn’t changed much, other than the fact that I’ve grown older, and grown used to the idea that such people exist in the world, who then take advantage of the unassumingly naive characters of the world, causing ultimate destruction of many lives, as is the case of Forrest’s ultimate hurt by his one and only love, Jenny.


Jenny had been Forrest’s childhood friend, and he was always there to catch her after her ordeals. She was abused as a child by her father, and in her early escape from her family, she got caught up in the search for her identity and in seeking the never-given affection and approval withheld in her childhood years. This led her to an unplanned existence, floating from one experience to the next, without being able to identify a life goal for her success.


These little bits led to worsening behaviors of self-destruction: drugs, the inability to put down roots and form attachments, leading to multiple relationships. She could never distinguish Forrests’ adult love for her from the childhood bonds of forever friendship they shared, and so couldn’t “see the ‘Forrest’ for the trees.” Lots of trees. Dead wood, in fact.


She contracted Aids, the new, emerging scourge of the 1980’s, as Forrest tended to her, eventually losing both she, and the only other ever woman in his life, his mother, to cancer. Forrest, though, despite the lack of a spouse, and through being raised, it seems, by a single mother, played by Sally Field, managed to have good fortune through his inadvertent (or not) successes. Everything he became associated with, even through pure happenstance, was touched by good luck through osmosis. My life has always seemed to be the opposite.


I’d never met anybody who had had quite the similar experiences to mine, except for the individual I was spending my life with, at the time of the movies’ release. The soundtrack to the movie, filled with classic rock songs we both loved, became a gift that I purchased for my significant sweetie, at the time.


References made in the movie miraculously mirror facts in both mine and my beloved’s life details, to an astounding degree.


And then, there’s Sally Field. I sometimes wonder whether she could have been my real birth-mother, as I have no clue who she really is. I was adopted and never learned much about my adoptive parents’ own parents, and so my sense of heritage, besides being Jewish, used to lead me on great flights of imaginative fancy.


Was I a princess, perhaps, descended from royalty? The lost Anastasia? I must have self-identified with maybe a half-dozen ethnic heritages growing up, in my own quest for realization — still perhaps unfulfilled. Julie of the Wolves? Yep — I was an Alaskan native. Learning of “Thanksgiving”? Perhaps I’m Indian. Never mind that at times I’ve felt either Irish or English!


In a small, magnetized refrigerator photo-holder in my Mother’s kitchen is a picture in newsprint of me, which she cut to fit inside the frame. Taken of me at a time fairly fresh out of college, my bangs frame my full-faced cheeks and give me a slight resemblance to Sally Field, in that shot, and in additional ways. I think that my mannerisms and just my general “way” about me are quite similar to hers, as well.


The funny thing is that my Dad also looked alot like James Garner, and Sally Field and James Garner were a paired ticket bill in many t.v. shows and movies throughout their careers. Coincidentally, my father’s persona resembled that given off by the aura of James Garner. My father was an affable man, with a sweet sense of humor and never a bad word about anybody. He was a gentleman of the utmost degree and a kind-hearted man. It was really amazing that this television pairing so closely resembled two real-life pairings — my father and me.


If you see any movies with them in it, there we’ll be. Is that life imitating art, or art imitating life? The latter, by gosh, is the obvious choice.




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2 responses to “My Life, In a Gump-Shell

  1. Your words are really sweet, especially the way you paint such vivid poetry by your words to your photographic accompaniments, Randall. I loved the purple sky beneath the sun, and the mountain goat, so majestic above the tree-line. I couldn’t continue at your site, because in being previously hacked, remote log-in kicks in, which happened at your site, and then I find I must leave the site I’m visiting, ‘cuz I don’t wish to be again hacked, which hurts alot of feelings and innocent people. The movie was definitely a tear-jerker for me. Being a simple person shouldn’t be mistaken for being a simpleton, as many callous people choose to think. Forrest was quite the loving man (“I do know what love is, Jenny…”), and that brave, simple joy with which he is able to hold onto, without becoming jaded, makes him rather heroic. Look what he did. He loved Bubba. He loved Jenny. He was loyal to each and every one til the end, and beyond, caring for Bubba’s family, talking to Jenny’s gravestone, being a great Dad to little Forrest. He was a man without one shred of artifice, incapable of deceit. What a beautiful, admirable man. Now I’m cmao.


  2. Actually, it’s also okay to be a simpleton. We all work with what we’ve got. And even by simple means, whether by finances, brain workability, or other aspects, it shows that we can succeed in life and in relations.


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