So, the Pope resigned.
Ratzinger (as he may rightly be referred to now), voluntarily gave up the power over the entire Catholic church and whatever Babelfish he’d stuck in his ear that could translate the direct commands of God.
This got me thinking about all the times when you might need a really good resignation speech for super legit reasons. Maybe you’re leaving a partner. Maybe you’re quitting a job. Maybe you’re telling God to talk to his own damn kids, you’re not his messenger anymore. Whatever the reason, I think all of us can learn something from these fictional resignations, and apply them to our own lives.
6. For When You Don’t Want to Burn Bridges
Martha Jones, Doctor Who
This is one of those delightful examples of someone who manages to say something they really need to say without being too critical and with no one feeling attacked.
Have you ever felt the need to tell someone that their behavior makes you feel shitty, without blaming them? It’s super difficult.
Sometimes you have to tell your boss that it hurts that he never comments on the quality of your work. Or you have to explain to your partner that the way she leaves toenail clippings on the bathroom floor means that you must leave her forever. Or you have to explain to your friends that by not reading your blog, they are slowly destroying your happiness.
Martha Jones exemplifies the classiest way to do this without playing the blame game. She gives good, rational, professional reasons for her decision to leave, making it clear that the Doctor is not at fault. Then she comes back and says what’s been bugging her for over a year: she likes him, she knows he doesn’t like her, she has to protect herself emotionally. Notice she doesn’t ask if the Doctor likes her back. She doesn’t put any pressure on him. She doesn’t even explicitly state that he “never looked at her twice.” She avoids “you” words at all costs. Then she makes a gesture.
She gives him a phone and says she’ll keep in touch. They end on a good note. She gets her big speech off her chest, he doesn’t have to awkwardly try to make her feel better or lie about his feelings. They stay friends, she gets over him. And that, folks, is how you manage to leave a bad situation and keep from burning bridges.
5. For When You Want to Burn Bridges
Lester Burnham, American Beauty
I don’t like to get too far outside of the realm of sci-fi/fantasy with this blog, but let’s face it, this is a fucking great speech. This is something every single one of us has wanted to do. Not just quit a shitty job, but quit a shitty job with relish.
Not only does Lester look really satisfied through this entire exit interview, he’s typed up a description of sick fantasies and masturbation jokes, and then he mouths along while the guy reads it out loud. That is dedication to your craft right there.
Most of the time, you can never use a speech like this. Unless you won the lottery or you’re prepared for some messed up blackmail, you have to continue kissing ass long after you walk away from a potential reference. But if you are, as Lester so eloquently puts it, “an ordinary guy with nothing to lose,” use this speech.
And then videotape it and send me the link.
4. For When You Want to Come Back
Han Solo, Empire Strikes Back
Youtube does not believe I should show you this particular clip. Clearly it’s because the sheer sexiness of it would melt your eyeballs right out of your goddamn head (and that’s just when Han is talking to General Rieekan.) Here’s a run-down of the speech I mean*:
Han Motherfucking Solo approaches General Rieekan on the Hoth Base, while Leia stares covetously at him from the corner.
Rieekan: Old person noises about going outside.
Han Motherfucking Solo: General, I’ve got to leave, I can’t stay anymore.
Rieekan, totes indifferent: I’m sorry to hear that.
Han Motherfucking Solo: I’ve got a price on my head, if I don’t pay off Jabba the Hutt, I’m a dead man.
Rieekan: A death mark’s not an easy thing to live w–oh, you’re not even paying attention to me anymore, you’re eye-fucking the only female within three hundred solar systems from across the room. Jealous.
Han Solo is already gone. He approaches the Ice Queen.
Han Motherfucking Solo: Well, I guess this is it.
Leia IceBitch Organa, coldly: That’s right.
Han Motherfucking Solo, not taking this shit: Well, don’t get all mushy on me, so long, princess.
This is the greatest resignation speech ever given for two reasons: 1) There’s no bullshit and 2) It is just begging to be rejected. First of all, the professional resignation: he doesn’t beat around the bush, he doesn’t kiss Rieekan’s ass, he doesn’t get emotional. He just says he has to leave and he gives a really good reason for doing so, i.e. his imminent death. When you’re not caught up in “oh, um, I really learned a lot and I loved working here and killing lots of people” you can hear that this guy doesn’t really want to leave. He may want to come back. You will always give that man back his job, because he’s a man and he just does what needs to be done, no bullshit required.
Which leads us to the rest of it. This is the way to say goodbye to a girl if you really want her to chase you down and bring you back. Be distant. Out-aloof her. Say as little as possible. Then piss her off a little bit and add just enough irritation to show that you’re a little bothered by her indifference. Oh, but one thing: you have to be the hottest badass in the universe to pull that off, or she’ll probably just let you go.
[*Note: This dialogue is pulled directly from my memory. Instead of correcting it, just do what I do, and play Han Solo’s voice in your head. Now you don’t care.]