FBDO is one of my all time favorite movies.
It’s not a perfect film, by any means. It’s a comedy. It’s kind of a love letter to Chicago. And I know…Ferris is arguably a sociopath. It glorifies skipping school and lying to your parents…and like…everyone, including your friends and classmates and community. He does whatever he wants, and it’s all consequence free. In some other movie, he’d be the villain, and I’d cheer against him without reservation.
But even when I first saw this John Hughes classic as a kid, Ferris was never the character I identified with or who I saw as the hero of the story. I’ve always been partial to Cameron.
I’ve always been that person; that friend. The anxious one. The worrier. The one who never breaks any rules because of the mountainous fear of consequence. The one who usually doesn’t want to go out. The one who underestimates myself and thinks I’m not good at anything and can’t do or handle anything. The person everyone else calls when they need something, but they don’t really care about as a human being or even particularly enjoy as a friend.
There’s this moment of truthfulness in the comedy that quickly gets brushed away by the parade scene there (which is my favorite scene in the movie…I love the music and fun, but I’ll detail why I love it emotionally in a bit), but I really feel like I AM Cameron Frye in a lot of my relationships, STILL, as an adult, when it comes to this exchange.
[Ferris, Sloane and Cameron are in a taxicab. Ferris and Sloane are kissing]
Cameron : It’s getting late, buddy. We better go get the car back home.
Ferris : We have a few hours. We have until 6:00.
Cameron : I’m sorry. I know you don’t care, but it does mean my ass.
Ferris : You think I don’t care?
Cameron : I KNOW you don’t care.
Ferris then says, ‘That hurts, Cameron,’ and details all the things Ferris has supposedly done ‘for Cameron’ during that day. Even as an 8-year-old, all of that felt like bullshit to me. Ferris did the stuff he wanted. With his girlfriend. And Cameron was along for the ride, because Cameron’s dad had the cool car to steal. Cameron would do the voice acting to get Sloane out of school and make it believable, to get into the fancy restaurant. And Ferris still critiqued him and made him feel inferior and like everything that went wrong was his fault…
…if you don’t like the way I do it!”
Wow. I’ve felt like Cameron so often in my life. Since childhood.
And yeah, Cameron did get something out of the day. He did grow (for the better) by the end of the film. But that wasn’t Ferris’s doing. That was Cameron’s own self-awareness journey. I’ve always felt connected to Cameron. Most of my friendships feel like I’m Cameron to someone else’s Ferris.
That’s why I love that parade scene. That’s the part of the fantasy I want to believe for my own life. That’s the best part for me. Not because of the music and the fun, but because, uncharacteristically…and probably falsely, but at least it felt real at the time…Ferris puts forth some effort FOR Cameron. Ferris maybe did actually care how Cameron felt. That was better than the people dancing in the street, better than the fancy restaurant, better than the day game at Wrigley. Cameron was really happy without being anxious in that scene, because he thought his friend really did care about him beyond his personal service and sacrifice. That’s why it’s my favorite.
All that wordiness ^^^^, was to bring up that yesterday, my best friend…the one person in my life I speak to regularly other than J and The Boy who does NOT make me feel like Cameron Frye…told me that she basically felt like Cameron. She said she felt ‘really unimportant and insignificant.’ And that hurt, because I know exactly how she felt. I intentionally try to be the kind of friend who NEVER makes another person feel like Cameron. As much as I love this movie, and his boldness and comedy and quotable lines, I do not want to be Ferris Bueller.
So I’m saying this to all of my readers in case no one else but me tells you this today…
You are super important and significant. I DO care, not just about stuff that ‘does mean your ass,’ but about lesser things that bother you or make you smile. I’ll never value you only because of what you can do for me.
And to my best friend…you’re not bothering me. I want to hear from you. Every time. And on the occasions that I reach out to you, it’s not only because you can do something for me (but honestly…it IS because your voice and words and presence comfort me and make me feel better…so it is kind of partially for what you do for me).
I want to be the kind of friend who reciprocates and gets reciprocation.
I really hope I never make you feel used or unimportant and insignificant.
You never make me feel like Cameron, so I hope I never make you feel that way, either.
If I ever do, please tell me so. I will not sing for you on a parade float. But I will do SOMETHING…more introvert friendly for both of us…to hopefully make you feel better. ❤