The Perfect Movie and Novel for Accountants and Everyone Else

I am the kind of person who is easily inspired. I once dreamed of becoming a zoologist after reading Life of Pi. Watching Departures made me want to be an encoffineer. The admirable psychologist Lelut in Hunter X Hunter increased my interest in Psychology. Math-tinik, the old tv program about primary Mathematics, started my affair with the subject. I wouldn’t be surprised if I would aspire to be a garbage collector if I would have watched an interesting movie with such protagonist.

There’s just something about books or movies. I consider books and movies successful if they can make me dream, if they can make me want to live the life of the character they’re introducing to the audience.

Given this, I figured maybe I’d enjoy Accountancy more if only I could watch a fascinating movie about it. That’s why few months ago, I googled for movies about Accountancy. (Forget about Googling books. Google might just show me endless list of oh-so boring textbooks.)

The first list I got was a list of movies about “corrupt, inept and dysfunctional” accountants, as the site describes them.

The second one gave me what I was looking for. Stranger Than Fiction, Dead Man and The Apartment are some of the movies included in the list.

The Movie For Acountants

Among the three, Stranger Than Fiction is the most appealing. It is a movie about an auditor who suddenly finds himself doing what a voice narrates inside his head. (Sounds schizophrenic eh?) When the narrator says he will die, he immediately looks for the narrator, who is actually a novelist who doesn’t know that the character she created is real.

The Novel For Accountants

Jesus said, “Seek and you shall find”. And I did. A week ago, I’ve read a book review about a book that I shall describe as the perfect novel for accountants.

The Pale King by the late David Foster Wallace is about the accountants in International Revenue Service (IRS). This group of accountants are specifically focused in taxation.

What caught my interest to read it is the statement of the CPA board examiner in the story that was quoted in the review that I’ve read. “The pie has been made — the contest now is in the slicing. Gentlemen, you aspire to hold the knife. Wield it. To admeasure. To shape each given slice, the knife’s angle and depth of cut. Gentlemen, you are called to account.”

This book though isn’t fully about Accountancy. It touches more the subjects that every human can relate to like Life. Some parts are basically Wallace’s observation of the human nature.

I haven’t read yet the whole book but I’ve read some parts of it on Kindle. One full chapter got me so engrossed in the story. The woman accountant tells her colleague the story how she met her husband. In Asylum. That’s where the tete-a-tete revolved. Crazies, doctors, human nature — they touched these subjects. The woman is just like at least one of your friends or you yourself who tells something over and over, just with different wording. Thus reading their “tete-a-tete”, as the woman likes to call it, will seem boring to the uninterested listeners. Yet in the end, she says “Anyway, that’s how I met my husband.” That’s it? Wait! I have a few questions, was my reaction. Her tale was too long yet I find myself wanting for more. This must be what Scott was talking about in his review (“Simultaneously too much and not enough”).

And have I mentioned the author’s already dead? He committed suicide in 2008. Upon learning about it, I’ve been wondering for days why did he do it. I came to the conclusion that whatever the reason is, it must be terribly deep that no alive person can comprehend. He killed himself even if he’s writing a book, even if he has a “purpose” in this world, even if he took Accounting classes just so he can write that book. Now, you see, “a purpose-driven life” is not the solution. Joanna and I discussed this topic too — how artists become more acclaimed once their dead just like Van Gogh. We joked that maybe Wallace thought about this, then killed himself so all of his works, not just Infinite Jest would be widely-read. “Alay-buhay,” I told my sister while laughing. “Buwis-buhay,” she gave the more apt word. It’s strange how once you died everything you’ve done seems brilliant to the living.

In one part of the book. Wallace talks about himself1 and how he considers himself an unconscious nihilist. His approach to life is usually “Whatever”. One wonders if this is the reason why he took away his life.

1 I have just finished reading this chapter (22) and have just read in a footnote in chapter 24 that the narrator of chapter 22 was “irrelevant”Chris Fogle. Chapter 22 was actually the edited transcription of Chris Fogle’s “speech” when the tax examiners were asked to answer some questions about the life in taxation.

3 comments on “The Perfect Movie and Novel for Accountants and Everyone Else

  1. webunrap says:

    I love this one..Thanks so much Jenn..for sharing with us.God bless.

  2. leadinglight says:

    I’ve thought about the aspects of authors becoming famous after death – Stieg Larsson is an example of a contemporary one. Oscar Wilde is an example of an old one.

    • Word Salad says:

      Those are great examples. Oscar Wilde is a brilliant writer although I never knew he wasn’t famous when he was still alive.

      I didn’t know who Stieg was but Google does. So he’s the author of that series with titles starting with “The Girl…” I thought the author of that best-selling book was still alive. So much too learn.

      Wallace though is already a bit famous when he was still alive, considering his book Infinite Jest was already an acclaimed work then. Although of course the death thing increased the fame more.

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