If you’ve never seen the 1983 horror flick Of Unknown Origin, you’re probably a normal person who has better things to do than seek out obscure Canadian cinema. Regardless, you can still learn a thing or two from its protagonist’s plight.
In the film, Peter Weller plays Bart, an uber yuppie who thinks he is in control of his life. He’s got a promising job, a hot wife, a cute kid and a meticulously renovated brownstone decked out in the latest 1980s decor. But when his wife and kiddo leave to visit relatives, things get weird for Bart. While he’s trying to work on a project that he hopes will get him a promotion at work, he hears noises in the basement. Food in the pantry mysteriously disappears. The water and electricity start malfunctioning. Clearly, Bart is not alone.
Turns out, Bart has a ginormous rat in his pristine townhome. And he goes to great lengths to get the rodent out of his hair so he can focus on his career-changing project. He puts some hardcore rattraps in the basement. He puts out poison. He gets a cat. These things all fail. This rat has the resilience of a cockroach. It’s also pretty smart. Eventually (spoiler alert), Bart ends up destroying his house to kill this rat, and I don’t think he even gets his project finished. Talk about an epic life fail.
But don’t we all end up destroying our proverbial condos because of a proverbial giant rat?
What if Bart had just ignored the rat? Would it really have been that bad? What Bart should have done was check into a hotel and leave a few monster bags of Cheetos out in the kitchen. He could work in peace and the rat would eat itself into a coma. It would be beautiful.
Sometimes focusing on eradicating the distractions in our lives just makes them worse. Destroyed-brownstone worse. Sometimes, you just have to ignore the rat if you want to get shit done. Split town and leave it some Cheetos if you have to.
To quote Kevin MacArthur from The League: “Let everything else slide. Just do this one thing.” He was talking about fantasy football. Hopefully you’re trying to accomplish something slightly more extraordinary.