After reading Eisner’s The Street Singer, one question really stuck with me. If you were given the opportunity to turn your life around, would you actually take it? Most people would likely say that they would do anything, if only given the chance, but in the case of Eddie the street singer, he squanders the excellent opportunity that he’s given by the opera singer. I remember reading this and feeling extremely angry and frustrated towards Eddie’s character, but looking back now, I understand why he couldn’t, or wouldn’t change.
It’s easy for a person to say to themselves and everyone around them, “Oh if I could just catch a break, I’d change it all.” They get this idea in their head of a new, better life, and they hold onto that idea, with no intention of actually changing anything. Like the man who wishes he could go back in time and make different decisions, they live in a fantasy. Eddie, a victim of the depression, is singing in a back alley when one of his listeners invites him up, and gives him the opportunity of a lifetime. He is given money, and the chance to make a name for himself, doing what he is passionate about. He dashes all of this aside however, when he blows all of the money on alcohol, and even forgetting where the opera singer lives. Why does he do this? Why doesn’t he use the money to start over, and turn his life around? Like most, he simply isn’t ready.
Change is difficult for people, especially those who need it most. Eddie simply wasn’t ready to turn his life around, despite what he wanted people to believe. If he was truly ready, he would’ve taken the opera singer’s opportunity. I was angry at first. He had been a downright horrible character the entire story, abusing his wife and even throwing his baby. I couldn’t understand why he squandered his chances. Then it hit me: I too have had chances and opportunities that I haven’t taken myself, and I often look back and wish I could change things. I know however, that if given more opportunities, I wouldn’t take them, because I know I’m not ready. Would you?