The Challenge

Sometimes there are more than bargains in the Walmart clearance carts.
For Trevor Golden, there was a challenge, right there in front of him; one he wanted to share.
As he looked in the $5 DVD clearance cart, he saw two movies side-by-side that he considered too ironic to dismiss: “Unfaithful” and “Men of Honor.”

“Seeing those movies together was just too much of a coincidence,” Trevor told me. “I had to do something with it, so I thought it’d be a fun gag gift.”
For years, Trevor and I had given each other ridiculous gifts on birthdays and Christmas. Trevor usually had the upper hand here. On my 18th birthday, he got me a Jar Jar Binks inflatable chair.
These DVDs, however, were more than gag gifts: they represented a challenge, and one not to take lightly. These titles represent a challenge we’ve all had to deal with at one time or another. Infidelity – whether physical or emotional – can creep into your life if you invite it, and the choice to invite it lies solely on you.
Trevor presented these movies to me in the summer of 2006. He was finishing up school at Ball State and I was interning for the Star Press. As he watched me open them, he laid out the message.

Men of Honor
“The choice is yours,” he said. “What’s it going to be? Are you going to be respectable and loyal or are you going to cheat on Richard Gere like Diane Lane?”
Considering both movies were off the radar pretty fast. “Unfaithful,” released in 2000, starred Gere as Ed Summer and Lane (who received rave reviews for being a mature bombshell) as his wife, Connie. Lane cheats on Gere with Paul Martel (a winsome young Olivier Martinez), whom Gere kills in a moment of rage.
As for “Men of Honor,” Robert DeNiro stars as Master Chief Billy Sunday and Cuba Gooding Jr. stars as his remarkably courageous diving student Carl Brashear. Based on a true story, Brashear climbed the ranks quickly but faced remarkable obstacles. It’s a story about commitment, loyalty, pride and hard work.
But Trevor’s challenge was mainly about the moral choices obvious in the movie titles. You didn’t have to watch either film to catch his drift (to be honest, neither movie is really that memorable). The challenge is about loyalty, integrity, honesty and being a decent human being.
Having just celebrated my one-year wedding anniversary, this challenge is no contest, and I am proud to say I’m a man of honor. I will continue to strive to be a man of honor, just like Cuba.
I’d like to say, also, that Trevor, too, is a man of honor, and I’m proud of him for who he’s become.
How about you? Are you a man of honor? Or are you struggling to fit that description? There’s always time to change, and it’s possible to change. Take the challenge, embrace it and be your best self. And, remember, watching these two films is not a mandatory part of the challenge.
Thanks, Trevor. I think I’ll look for a challenge for you next time I’m at Walmart, instead of sending you a Fergus High School athletics calendar.


About CharliesTrail

Originally from Indianapolis, Denison is a writer and musician who has picked up culture and influences from eccentrics all over the U.S. and overseas. He is a University of Kentucky Journalism School grad and an award-winning Montana journalist. Through the years he's had work published by "Chicken Soup From the Soul," DVD Netflix, Montana Quarterly Magazine, NUVO and Americana Highways. He has a solo album, "Whispers of the Lonely," and continues to chip away at his first novel. Currently Denison is the editor of The Boulder Monitor in Boulder, Montana, where he lives with his wife.
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