“Is that your answer, Old Man? You’re a hard case too, ain’t you?”
In difficult times, I’ve often thought about a scene from one of Paul Newman’s most memorable films, Cool Hand Luke.
Newman’s character, Luke Jackson, had escaped from a prison chain gang earlier in the day, and a posse is closing in on him. He takes refuge in an old abandoned church and begins talking to God about what a hard case he’s been all his life.
Finally, he gets down on his knees and asks God what he should do. Just then, his fellow escapee, Dragline (George Kennedy), bursts in the side door and frantically warns him that the police are outside. Whereupon Luke, displaying that classic Newman grin, looks up at the ceiling and says, “Is that your answer, Old Man? You’re a hard case too, ain’t you?”
When times get tough, I think many people see God as “a hard case.” But perhaps they need to examine their own thoughts and actions more honestly. In the case of Cool Hand Luke, it was pretty clear that the problem wasn’t that God was a hard case. The problem was that Luke made himself a hard case through his own choices.
Something for each of us to think about whenever we’re feeling like we’ve been dealt a bad hand.
This is the scene in the church, but it cuts off before Newman’s famous line: