“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in” – The Godfather

michael corleone godfather part 3

I keep watching and re-watching the Godfather trilogy; I must admit that the third one isn’t as regular of a re-run for me as the other two. 

There are plenty of timeless Marlon Brando dialogues – delivered with immaculate precision in the movie. 

But the post is not about him. 

The post is about Al Pacino’s Michael’s iconic line:

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Years of guilt from killing his brother burst out of Michael, alongwith the anger and frustration around losing control of the empire he had so painstakingly built. 

Pacino was so true to the character in that scene. His facial expressions, his voice- everything was so spot on! You could feel his emotions. 

In short, it was quite the scene. In my book, it’s the best scene in the last installment of this trilogy.

Well, I watched the movie when I was a kid (or at least I thought I was). That’s the world of a don, I thought. It happens to dons, their stooges, and maybe some other people. All in fiction, though. I didn’t see myself ever saying these words in my life. 

And the kid that I was, of course, I was wrong.

Since I grew up, saying that I might have used this sentence at least 500 times would not be an overstatement. Plenty of WhatsApp messages, gifs, Teams chats, Google chats, and inadvertent emails are a testimony to that. 

No no, this is not restricted to formal/informal friendly settings. It has flooded over to engulf my work life too.

Don’t you hate it when something you did for someone as a favor gets added to the list of your regular responsibilities, and then eventually you become the only person responsible for the work? 

Years pass by, and you continue to be accountable for it. 

You are frustrated with all your requests to move on to other work, learn new things, and fall on deaf ears. You are bored after all, and why wouldn’t you?

Then one fine day, your good karma pays off. Your manager is in an excellent mood, and you restrike the iron when it is hot. Things go unexpectedly well. 

Et voila! The albatross is finally off your neck. The ancient mariner has been saved.

Or so it would seem.

The desk phone rings; there is an urgent issue that they need your help with. Heart races in reflex and then plummets to the depths of hell when the albatross strikes again. You help and it is resolved. But apparently, you have impressed them so much that they can’t see another person taking the work on, at least in the ‘near’ future.

And that’s precisely when an image of Michael Corleone flashes before your eyes- extremely agitated.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

You understand him better now. It is challenging to cope when your end goal is, deceptively, just whiskers away before disappearing into dark oblivion. 

That ‘I was almost out’ thought consumes you to the core. As you continue to see the scene unfolding in your mind’s eye, you see Michael having a heart attack soon after.

And a switch flips on.

You are mature. You are an adult. You can do better than Don Michael Corleone.

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