Chuckie Sullivan



Chuckie drifted into my mind as I drove down the road the other day. No, not the scary, creepy Chuckie the doll from the really bad 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s Child’s Play horror flicks, but Chuckie Sullivan.


Right! I didn’t know his name either so I asked my friends at Google, who are experts in matters such as these. For whatever reason, metaphors like I’m about to share come popping into my head at very random moments. I wish I could remember what triggered this…but I haven’t a clue.

Okay, so Chuckie Sullivan was the good friend of Will Hunting…you know, “Good Will Hunting,” the movie?  He was the character played by Ben Affleck. Ahhhh yeah!  Good movie huh?  Loved the scene where Will opened a can of whoop – “shut your mouth” on the snotty Harvard-dude in the bar scene on the subject of history…but I digress.

So, the scene I’m thinking of can be googled. It’s titled, “Best Day Ever.”  I’ll share the cleaned up version of the conversation taking place between Will and Chuckie , but if you want to picture it more accurately, close your eyes for a moment and think of a couple New England Patriot fans having a highly intellectual conversation.

Oh…I just alienated New England fans…….sorry.  Anyway…..

Here it is:

Chuckie: Look, you’re my best friend, so don’t take this the wrong way. In 20 years, if you’re still livin’ here, comin’ over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin’ construction, I’ll [expletive] kill you.  That’s not a threat, that’s a fact. I’ll [expletive] kill you.

Will: What the [expletive] are you talkin’ about?

Chuckie: Look, you got somethin’ that none of us —

Will: Oh, come on!   Why is it always this, I mean, “I [expletive] owe it to myself to do this or that?” What if I don’t want to?

Chuckie: No. No, no, no. No, [expletive] you.  You don’t owe it to yourself.  You owe it to me. ‘Cause tomorrow I’m gonna wake up and I’ll be 50.  And I’ll still be doing this [expletive]. And that’s all right, that’s fine. I mean, you’re sittin’ on a winning lottery ticket and you’re too much of a [expletive] to cash it in. And that’s [expletive]. `Cause I’d do anything to [expletive] have what you got.  So would any of these [expletive] guys. It’d be an insult to us if you’re still here in 20 years.  Hanging around here is a [expletive] waste of your time.

Will: You don’t know that.

Chuckie: I don’t?

Will: No. You don’t know that.

Chuckie: Oh, I don’t know that? Let me tell you what I do know. Every day I come by your house and I pick you up, and we go out.  We have a few drinks and a few laughs, and it’s great.  You know what the best part of my day is?  It’s for about 10 seconds from when I pull up to the curb to when I get to your door.  Because I think maybe I’ll get up there and I’ll knock on the door and you won’t be there.  No goodbye, no see you later, no nothin’. Just left. I don’t know much, but I know that.


Like I said, I’m not sure what triggered my memory over this scene. I may have been thinking about guys I supervise or I may have been thinking about my own secret dreams and how scary it is to consider putting one’s self out there for something that can feel borderline impossible…like, “who do you think you are having a dream like that?”

Dreams…or Just Goals?

If “dreams” don’t have an impossible flavor to them…can we really call them dreams? Wouldn’t the word “goal” more accurately describe those pursuits that we can safely accomplish simply with time and hard work?

The word “goal” doesn’t really do much for me. It’s blah…It stirs no passion in my soul, and maybe that’s the point here.  Goals can be kind of safe and, to some degree, controllable can’t they?  Am I looking at this right?  It’s my goal to lose 75lbs…but it’s my dream to stand on the top of 14,256 foot high Long’s Peak again.  One will make me feel good for a while and may help me live longer…the other will stir the senses for decades to come as I drive along I-25 looking westward.

For Will, the idea of stepping out of the safe, small world he created, to pursue a bigger world filled with so many unknowns was scary. But poor Chuckie…he was in worse shape. He’d accepted the lie that he had no option…that there wasn’t something great out there off the horizon for him.  He was all about encouraging Will to “go for it”, and he was willing to find some measure of satisfaction in living vicariously through Will’s choice to be brave.

Wonder with me for a moment will you?  Wonder to yourself where you’re like Will. As you’ve made major decisions with your life that created long-term ripples over the years, were your decisions shaped by safe goals filled with promises of security?  Or do you see comparison’s with the Will at the end of the movie…the guy willing to pack up his belongings in that old beater of a car that we all know full well had no chance of making it across the country to California.

Poor Chuckie

But let’s not stop there okay? Let’s consider Chuckie’s perspective before we sign off here. Have we ever considered the agreements we’ve made with this thing called “reality?”  Are we guilty of accepting limitations on how high, how far, and how big we’re willing to allow our dreams to become, because to do so could border on the illogical, impossible, impractical (not really trying to stick with “I-words here)?

I have a saying I use from time-to-time in meetings with my probation guys. The difference between a dream and a fantasy is that dreams have legs.  Fantasies are content sitting on their butts thinking about what they’d do with a winning lottery ticket; dreams get up and start moving forward one step at a time.

Thanks for taking the time to hear what I have to say.


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