Wednesday, June 3, 2009

thinking about buzz

When my son was very young his first hero was Buzz Lightyear. We loved Buzz for a long time. I still, in fact, love Buzz.
Toy Story is one of my favorite movies of all time.
We can all relate to Woody. The pain of feeling your position has been usurped. Jealousy. We get that.

But today I was thinking about Buzz. Buzz was a dreamer. He had big goals."To Infinity and Beyond!" was his motto. Infinity was in his grasp and was not enough for him. No-siree.

We are all told to dream big, aim high, shoot for the stars.

But then there is the scene I love for it's heartbreak. Buzz sees an advertisement for a Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Action Figure and hears the words that change his life: "This is not a flying toy."

Randy Newman sings a melancholy song as Buzz absorbs this news. Buzz decides to disbelieve what he heard. He climbs the banister, "If I believe I can fly..... I can flyyyyy." He jumps, soars, dives. He crashes to the floor, his arm falls off and Randy finishes with, "Clearly I will go sailing no more."

Heartbreaking. The dreamer crashed.

How do we reconcile dreams and limits? We are all finite. We all have inabilities. I can't fly, no matter how hard I believe it, I can't. I will crash.

Dream big. But how do we avoid the crash? Or do we just go for it and reconstruct ourselves the best we can after we fall apart?

Buzz made it. He had to go through some soul searching and depression, but he was a better toy in the end for it.

What to you think? Leap and risk falling? Or do we believe it when we hear "This is not a flying toy" and alter our dreams to fit within the realm of infinity?

Perhaps it has to do with who's voice is telling us our limitations. There are plenty of people who want to hamper dreams. Lot's of wet blankets. But what if the voice comes from the company that manufactured us? Perhaps that's when we need to consider heeding the warning.

Dream big. Reach for the stars. But heed the voice of your maker.

What do you think?


  1. This made my eyes leak. I always liked Buzz too. He was very confident, but when he realized what he was he bounced back...after a while. He was still confident, but just re-adjusted his focus. I say dream big until it blows up in your face, and than dream just a little bit smaller than the first time until you get the right bigness. "If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time"

  2. As I've been thinking about this, I've realized that very few of us have, Buzz's problem I think.
    I would guess more of us dream too small, than dream too big.

  3. Kay and Julie, good thoughts. Thanks for thinking.

  4. Buzz was fabulously important in our house too. So much so that my son "let" Buzz pick out his training potty on a shopping trip.

    I'm having trouble imagining that my manufacturer would tell me that I was not made to fly. Maybe not to take certain flights, but I think He would always encourage me to fly.

  5. It’s an interesting question you pose: Are we dreaming too big or too small? I think Buzz had a creator—the person who dreamed up the character of Buzz. This person believed that Buzz really could go to infinity and beyond and designed him that way. Then Buzz was mass-marketed. A very sad thing that happens to all of us I’m afraid. We are packaged up in the finite and limited. At first he thought he would fly in a particular way (flying in the aeronautical sense) but it turns out that he flew so much higher! I think Buzz’s designer intended him to reach infinity and beyond and, indeed, he did but not in the way that the mass-marketers said.

    Buzz soared when he realized he was loved and began to love others. I think we can all do that.

    Just don’t watch TV like Buzz did!

  6. Maybe Julie is right,
    but then, maybe Honey is right. Depends on how literally we interpret flying. I was being pretty literal in that there are definite things I can't do. How do I find those out.

    I think Llama's warning against mass marketing is pretty good, too. Especially as I find myself in a place where I hear a lot about marketing for the masses as a writer.

  7. You people are deep thinkers. I'm not sure I'd ever learn a lesson from a toy/cartoon character. Good stimulating thoughts, though. Thanks!

  8. Hmmm. Thanks for the thoughts, I'm still trying to grasp what you were saying, I'll work it your blog.

    xxx emii

  9. Kay I need to think about this. Wonderful post. And wonderful lunch today. I'm glad we're friends.

  10. Kay, it is a wonderful post. It made me look at my own dreams. Being published as a photographer...
    Great post.


I love to hear your thoughts!