Last night while web surfing Valarie came across an online test in which you answer somewhere between nine and forty-five questions and the website then tells you which movie and/or star of that movie best matches your personality.
Valarie's answer was Apocalypse Now, which came with this description: "You are a rogue wanderer on the winding river of life, searching after your shadow self." A bit surprised at first, she took the test a couple more times (selecting different numbers of questions) but came up with the same movie again.
I took the test twice and came up with wildly different results.
The first time, when I answered forty-five questions, my personality-defining movie came back as Sunset Boulevard. "You are all about fame and success," the website told me, "and avoid being seen as ordinary." Obviously I was rather mortified, wondering to myself, "Am I really as much of a diva as Norma Desmond?"
The second time, however, when I answered nine questions, I was matched with Schindler's List. The explanation said, "You put the needs of others before your own. You strive to be helpful to your fellow man." I doubt I'm as noble and giving as Oskar Schindler, but if you're gonna be called a Norma Desmond figure, it's nice to have this kind of persona too, just to balance things out.
Although at first when I realized I'd been given two such wildly different movies and/or movie protagonists to describe my personality I took it as evidence that the test was not to be taken seriously, ultimately I realized this yin-yang actually describes me better than any one movie could have.
After all, I'm someone who doesn't even have a dominant right hand or left hand. I'm called "ambi-lateral", which means I can only do certain tasks with my left hand but other tasks only with my right. (As opposed to the more well-known ambi-dextrous, which denotes the ability to perform some tasks with either hand.) I also have a combined Western/Chinese zodiac sign ("Taurus/Rat") that is shared most notably by William Shakespeare and the Ayatollah Khomeini.
It should go without saying that I'm prouder of the Oskar Schindler tag than the Norma Desmond one. I fully confess to there being an element of my personality that enjoys, for example, seeing my name in the paper or one of my photos on display. But when I am given the privilege of the spotlight, it's an oddly but unmistakably humbling experience. If you can't do something useful and noble and altruistic with that opportunity, you've squandered it.
The best part of getting older (I turned 33 last month), at least in my own experience, is developing a more solidified sense of who you are. So while the movie test didn't tell me anything I didn't already have some semblance of self-awareness about, it was still a surprise to have my fortune told by means of two extremes. But because I think the notion of balance is so crucial to what I aspire to, I am at peace with the reading I've been given. I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille, but I'll break down if the end comes and I haven't given of myself.