"Last of the Dogmen"

with Tom Berenger

Viewed August 11, 2001

Even though many of us had never heard of this movie before tonight, everyone in the group unanimously enjoyed it. And even though we had eight questions, we basically only tackled one single topic: the emotional risks (Question #4) associated with either leaving or staying at the jobs we've had.

For some of us, the security of a regular paycheck made it difficult (and sometimes seemingly impossible) to leave a position, and we never did until the job disappeared or we were fired/let go/downsized/reorganized. We talked about how the weekly paycheck seduced us into staying in jobs that we hated, so much so that we sometimes fantasized about running out in front of an oncoming bus so that we wouldn't have to show up at work: "Wow, if I got hit by a bus I'd get at least three days off work while I was in the hospital!"

Some of us, though, were accustomed to the emotional risks of taking chances and leaving jobs/relationships/stability. For these people, the real risks emotionally lay in giving up that feeling of freedom and choosing financial security instead, with all of the consequent trappings of corporate America. Giving up freedom was scarier than giving up security.

We also noticed that there were several ways to look at difficult jobs. One person told her experience of looking for the best in a difficult boss and meditating daily on seeing the divine in her coworkers, and how her relationship with them changed over the course of a year from extremely distant and strained, to them being her best friends.

We finished off with noticing that we had almost totally ignored the emotional risks in other parts of our lives, particularly in relationships. So one person told about facing his fear and terminating a difficult relationship, when in the past he had always kept trying to make the relationship work until his partner terminated it. For him, taking the initiative was the risky thing, instead of waiting for someone else to do the dirty work.

Here are the questions:


  1. At what times in my life have I had to let go of what I valued, and how did I handle it?
  2. What triggers me to open my eyes to what's really important in my life?
  3. How do I know what choices to make when I have too many unknowns?
  4. In what ways have I taken emotional risks? What made me?
  5. How have I held on to pain to use as a weapon or some other perceived personal advantage?
  6. At what points have I realized I was doing something I wasn't aware of, and what brought that to my awareness?
  7. How do I protect what I hold most dear?
  8. What events have emotionally numbed me, and what made me give a damn and start living my life again?