One of my favorite movies is Casino Royale. I was never a fan of the James Bond movies (I thought they were cheesy and formulaic) until I saw that one. I quickly became a fan. I own the movie and have probably seen it forty times. On occasion, when leading my community group (for the getting-to-know-each-other question), I have asked, “What movie character would you most like to be?” Each time, I have answered, “Daniel Craig in Casino Royale”—with Matt Damon, as Jason Bourne, a close second.
Several years ago, I went to a birthday party in downtown L.A., at someone’s loft. I knew it was going to a be a huge party (almost two hundred people on the invite list) and later on, everyone was going dancing at a nearby club. I made the mistake of watching Casino Royale that afternoon. We all want to make a great entrance, right? Isn’t that what it’s all about? I convinced myself I was going to be Daniel Craig that night. I decided to wear suit slacks and a pressed shirt. With polished shoes. Now, anyone who knows me knows better—I’m a jeans guy. I can pretend to be a tuxedo guy, but who am I fooling? I went to the grocery store on the way to pick up a bottle of wine as a party gift. Walking confidently through the aisle at Ralphs, I thought, “I’m Daniel Craig.” I left the store and drove downtown, parking my car on a sidestreet several blocks away.
When I arrived, there was no great entrance to be made. There were so many people there already, filling the entranceway, that it became more of an, “Oh, I didn’t know you were here; when did you arrive?”, than an, “Introducing James Bond…I mean, Michael Green.” The dancing at the club? Never happened. There was a mix-up with the guest list, and we all waited outside for forty-five minutes before finally trudging back to the loft. As for my outfit selection: No one else wore suit pants. Most were dressed casual and relaxed, and I spent the rest of the evening wishing I had worn jeans and a more comfortable shirt.
Maybe that’s why we love movies, because we know real life doesn’t work that way. If it did, we wouldn’t have any need for James Bond, and Daniel Craig would be working a forklift somewhere in Brighton or Manchester, because we’d all be chasing down street thugs or terrorists, blowing up embassies and driving the coolest cars, equipped with secret compartments concealing pistols and blow ‘em up devices. I am not suave; I’m kind of a dork, actually. In the end, I may get one or two James Bond-type moments in my lifetime, where I get to do something out of the ordinary, brave and daring. But the rest of the time, I have to be me, the guy who is scared to death of snakes, who will always feel more comfortable in jeans, who wouldn’t know what to do with those blow ‘em devices even if they came with an instruction manual, who can’t bluff to save his life and doesn’t know which hand is better—a straight flush or three of a kind.