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Everything I need to know in life

Mary Claire O'Donnell | Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My long-awaited JPW has come and passed. The weekend was a blur of events and reflections on the impact my parents have had on my life. But in the wake of all this, I thought it would be rude to ignore another important (though not more important — don’t worry Mom and Dad!) influence in my life: James Franco. Everything I need to know in life I learned as a James Franco fan.

1. Education is important. In 2006, Franco reenrolled at UCLA as an English major with a creative writing concentration. Two years later, he graduated with a GPA over 3.5. No one will ever forget Franco in “Freaks and Geeks” or “Spiderman,” but he has undoubtedly improved since began his education again. In the years during and post his education overhaul, he has turned out blockbusters like “Pineapple Express,” “Milk” and “127 Hours,” earning award show notice along the way.

2. Majors are not.

As a Classics major, this lesson most excites me. Although he was already a fairly established actor when he went back to college, Franco chose a major somewhat unrelated to his career. He proved that no matter what you study, as long as you apply yourself and work hard, you can go many places with your life.

3. We will end up like our parents.

In the “Spiderman” series, Franco played Harry Osborn, Peter Parker’s best friend and son of his nemesis, the Green Goblin. Despite his connection to Parker, Osborn followed in his father’s footsteps and became the Second Green Goblin, another nemesis of Parker’s. Hopefully none of our parents are secretly super villains, but regardless, we will still probably end up channeling traits and actions of our parents we would rather not.

4. “Well be careful, man. Be careful. Wear shoes in the house. Safety. Safety first, then teamwork.”

Franco spoke these words of wisdom in 2008’s “Pineapple Express” as pot-dealer Saul Silver. Although Saul delivered this gem while under the influence, the sentiments and lessons still ring true. In life, safety, loosely translated here as happiness, always comes first, specifically for yourself. Sometimes, we need to put our own happiness above the needs of others. And sometimes, we need to work with others to achieve our goals.

These are only snippets of the life lessons I have learned from Franco through the years. I have also learned to be tolerant and to persevere. Also, that Navy uniforms are the most attractive of all the service branches. So thank you, James Franco, I don’t know how I could have made it to 21 without you.