Before he was your favorite character on Showtime’s Homeland and after he was Che in the original Broadway production of Evita, Mandy Patinkin was Inigo Montoya in the classic ’80s fairy tale film, The Princess Bride. It’s a film every parent my age grew up watching, and one many of our children have now seen. My daughter loves quoting the best lines from the movie, including the most famous, uttered by Patinkin: “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Patinkin says though that’s the best-known quote from the film, it’s not his favorite. He told CBS This Morning recently that the line he loves most from the film comes at the very end, after his character has finally gotten the revenge he sought for so long.
“I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it’s over, I do not know what to do with the rest of my life.” Patinkin says, “I love that line. And I love it for all of us, because the purpose of revenge – in my personal opinion – is completely worthless and pointless. The purpose of existence is to embrace our fellow human being, not be revengeful, and turn our darkness into light.”
I happened to catch this clip last night after coming home from dinner at our favorite Chinese place with my daughter and her friend. During dinner, the kids were talking about some drama that had gone on during the school day, and how they were feeling about the mean girl at the center of it. While they explained to me what happened, I tried to tell them that often times when people have an inability to accept their share of the blame for something bad that happens, they lash out at other people as a means of displacing their shameful feelings and as a way to try to take the heat off them, so maybe the mean girl deserved some sympathy, too. Then I opened my fortune cookie to read that tiny, magical slip of paper inside, and it said, “Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.” I showed it to the kids, who started in with a “Yeah, but …” Maybe by the time they’re 60-year-old Mandys, they’ll understand another one of Patinkin’s favorite lines, from Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific, “You’ve got to be taught to hate.”