The premise of the show Better Call Saul speaks volumes to me. James “Jimmy” McGill, former conman, attempts to straighten up his life by earning his law degree from a correspondence school (the equivalent of an online degree today) and starting his own practice. Throughout the first two seasons, we see Jimmy’s internal struggle between his desire to be an upstanding person his shithead brother can be proud of, and the darker, more criminal side that tends to land Jimmy in compromising, yet entertaining, situations. Of course, to those Breaking Bad fans, we already know which side eventually wins the long game. But the events that transpire in between add an incredible amount of context unbeknownst to us before.
Much of my life can be summed up in the same way. After the false start known as my childhood, I made it my mission to become the person Jimmy tries so hard to be. I even went to college with the intention of becoming a lawyer, although my life hasn’t made it to that transition quite yet. But as an adult, I’m always at conflict with myself; half of me knows better than to do certain things, whereas the other half tries like Hell to create havoc and chaos.
No matter where I go, I start off with the best intentions and instead give into great temptation. And, like Jimmy in the finale of the first season crossing over into the second, I will occasionally give up trying to be the good person, realizing that perhaps I’m just not one of the good guys. Ultimately, like Jimmy, someone convinces me in more ways than one to try harder, which only leads to more zany stories later on. Will I end up a criminal? Am I already one?
Do you suppose there are people who are just not designed to be good people? Like for every good person born, an evil one also must be born? Looking at the comparisons between Jimmy and myself, one notable difference is our upbringing. For all intents and purposes, it seems that, perhaps outside his dickhole brother, Chuck, Jimmy had a great family, whereas the state of Texas should have taken my sister and I out of our home as children. Granted, I’m comparing a television show to my life, but assuming that Better Call Saul is completely true, it would give credence to my idea that some people are just meant to be shitheads. Perhaps I should just accept that.
I’ve had the unique perspective of meeting long lost family in the last few months. Between hearing about their lives, as well as learning more about the father I never knew, it sounds as if my family line is simply full of degenerates. Although a couple of us, including myself, do have short spurts of socially acceptable success, it almost seems like we’re just doomed to fail from the start, again, like Jimmy. I would even go so far as to compare his tendency to self-sabotage to myself, trying to blow up an undesirable situation even when it’s putting a lot of fucking bacon on the table.
At what point do I give up trying to be the upstanding guy I know I’m not?