Sam Breed

Product Developer, Investor

Lessons from The Jerk (1978)

Lessons from The Jerk (1978)

If you’re not familiar with The Jerk (1978) starring Steve Martin, do yourself (well really, do me a favor) and watch it. It’s streaming on Amazon Video. Just go watch it. I’ll wait.

Now that you’re back, I want to share 3 very important pieces of advice that the star of our story, Maven Johnson, receives from his loving family before he departs on his Hero’s Journey:

  1. The Lord loves a working man
  2. Don’t trust whitey
  3. See a doctor and get rid of it

This is universally good advice.

I may not believe in any higher power, but showing up and being willing to get your hands dirty gives you more advantages than not.

I may not be anything other than an average white american man, but I sure as hell don’t trust any authority figure. It’s a reasonable precautionary measure.

And I may not follow all good advice, but seriously you should see a doctor every once in a while. And call your mom.

I first saw these painted on a plaque in a tattoo shop in Boulder, completely removed from their context in The Jerk, which I had already seen but didn’t connect at the time. I had remembered the signage despite missing the connection to the film. I re-watched it last week and finally noticed, and reveled in the warmth of a pop-culture reference coming full circle: it was a moment of life’s weird interconnected on full display. I spent a lot of time in that tattoo shop.

What difficult-to-ignore advice has influenced you?

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