What I’ve Learned in 2010 From The A-Team (With Special Guest Stars, The Movie A-Team)


“Overkill is underrated.” ~Hannibal Smith, The A-Team (2010)

The Captain in his element

I thought about doing some deep, introspective post about what the tumultuous year of 2010 has meant to me, what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown, what I’ve accomplished, but then decided all of it would be terribly boring. So, I decided to use the same idea and include the A-Team. (Stop laughing!)

Like the A-Team, 2010 was indeed an important year for me. I lost two jobs, started another, made new friends, rediscovered old ones, fell in love (albeit with an idea), centered myself, kicked a very bad habit, and substituted for Bruce Springsteen live on stage. OK, so the last one was completely made up. You’re here to read about The A-Team, right?

So, what did I learn?

Chickeeeeennnnn!

#1: Sometimes, when presented with overwhelming odds, the best thing is to have a laugh…then tackle the problem.

Laughter is the best medicine. It is. It’s cheap, easily accessible, has no bad side effects, and is completely contagious. It’s also proven to release endorphins. While faced with some really hard times this spring and summer, I looked to Murdock for inspiration (WWHMD, I suppose.) He has the uncanny ability to find meaning in the absurd, to keep his childlike spirit alive in tough times, and to brighten everyone around him, with the possible exception of B.A. I can learn from that. To paraphrase the movie Gladiator, another favorite, sometimes, when death smiles at us, all a man can do is smile back.

The original cover art for "Ebony and Ivory"

#2: There’s a time and place for every part of one’s personality, including being an angry mudsucker.

I feel like I should be singing that old Byrds song here. It’s so true. There’s a time to be angry and a time to be charming, and everything in between. When on a job interview, for example, I might want not to channel Murdock’s brand of surrealism (as I did during one instantly forgettable interview this summer.) But when faced with a hard decision, I might want to call upon B.A.’s solid resolve, or Hannibal’s steely leadership abilities. I’ve also discovered that I do actually possess a latent Face side…the side that knows that even false sincerity can become true over time. “Fake it until you make it” has become a mantra for me, and as a result, I’ve actually become slightly more sociable. That being said, I still enjoy my time spent in the surreal Murdockian world…it’s more comfortable, and everyone knows me there.

Face discovers he's wearing the same suit as someone else

#3: Dress the part…everything else comes secondary.

I never used to think this was true. Cosplaying is a form of power, no matter whether the cos in question is a Starfleet uniform or a business suit. People like and respect other people in nice clothes. It’s somehow wired into our DNA. If I project an aura of confidence and authority, and dress the part, I will usually be accepted as such. A simple truth, and one that’s taken me a long time to learn. (If you’ll remember the A-Team episode in which Murdock disguised himself as a general in order to free his friends, you’ll know what I mean on this one.)

That's what friends are for...WTF moments.

#4: Know who your friends are, and help each other as often as you can.

2010 has been the Year of the Friend for me. Because I’m single, and not especially close to my family, it was my friends who helped me through so many hard times. They come in all shapes and sizes, from all over the world, but they have one thing in common: they care about me, and I for them. My advice would be, if you know an old friend, call or email him or her today. You’ll be glad you did, and your friend will probably be glad to hear from you. I’ve also found that doing random acts of kindness for friends is a wonderful form of therapy whenever a bad mood strikes.

I love it when a stunt foot comes together!

#5 Being a leader is not about throwing one’s weight around and being loud.

Hannibal is unquestionably the leader of the A-Team…but how often does he even have to raise his voice? Threaten somebody? Be a real SOB? He doesn’t. Leaders inspire others through their actions and deeds. They make us want to do our best simply because…not for any reward. They inspire us. While I’m certainly not a leader in his league (not even close), this year I’ve learned what qualities are contained within a great leader, and that I have those qualities too, if only I will develop and use them. I’ve also discovered that the best leaders have a sense of humor. Even Hannibal is accused of being crazier than Murdock at times.

Murdock hears a Who

#6: Keep your ears…and your heart…always open. God does not shout, he whispers.

There’s a little plaque in my kitchen that I got years and years ago which reads “the stiller we are, the more we are able to hear.” An old Zen proverb, though the wisdom is timeless. I never really knew what it meant until this year. The thing is, if God wanted everything to be easy and obvious, he might just shape clouds into letters in the sky (TAKE THE JOB, MARRY ANGELA, etc.) Or send angels in the form of Western Union telegram men. It doesn’t work that way. But if we take the time to be still, quiet, meditative, prayerful, and open, it is then when we hear answers. Murdock may hear voices others don’t, but what if, just for the sake of argument, he were connected to the Divine?

Face discovers he lost at strip poker

#7 Kindness goes a lot farther than anger.

Another old saying I’d heard, but never really understood, was to be nice to everyone you met, because everyone was fighting a battle of their own. It is true. How hard is it to be kind to a cashier at a store, our child’s teacher, a random stranger on the street? Every day I see so many displays of anger and rudeness that the acts of kindness really stand out. Which is why I’ve decided I’m not going to be an angry mudsucker anymore…unless the situation calls for such. It also doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned my Kick-Ass side…I merely channel this side into healthy pursuits now, fool!

Told you there'd be guest stars!

#7: Life is too short to worry about little things.

It really is. Things will almost always work out in the end if you’re willing to endure the hard stuff and do your part. In the meantime, relax and remember to have plenty of laughs, and to keep your friends close.

(These may or may not be included in my current project about TAT and life…so stay tuned! If you have ideas for the book, I’d love to hear them. Just write me at wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com. Thanks to all my friends for their support this past year.)

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on December 29, 2010.

2 Responses to “What I’ve Learned in 2010 From The A-Team (With Special Guest Stars, The Movie A-Team)”

  1. I love this blog (well, all except the special guests, but that’s another matter…)! 🙂

  2. Really nice! I love all these qualities you’ve picked up and I absolutely love the idea of a non-fiction book centered on the team! It’s a great idea and when you do publish it, I’ll be sure to read it! Seriously. 😀
    I think my favorite was number 7. That’s something everyone should subscribe to.
    Lovely words. Thanks for the smile. 😉

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