‘About Schmidt’ (Ray Nichols)

'About Schmidt' by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor

From: Movie

Type: Dramedy

Character: Ray Nichols, a "stout older fellow with a loud, abrasive voice"

Gender: Male

Age Range: 50's | 60's

Summary: Warren Schmidt has arrived at several of life's crossroads all at the same time. To begin with, he is retiring from a lifetime of service as an actuary for Woodmen of the World Insurance Company, and he feels utterly adrift. Furthermore, his only daughter Jeannie is about to marry a boob. And his wife Helen dies suddenly after 42 years of marriage.

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RAY NICHOLS: Hey, Warren, how do you feel about these young punks taking over our jobs? They shoved me out the door three years ago. Looks like some kind of conspiracy to me! (Everyone laughs affectionately. Ray stands) Now I’ve known Warren here probably longer than most of you have been alive. Warren and I go way back, waaaaaay back to the horse and buggy days at Mutual. But that’s ancient history. We were good friends not only at work but also out on the golf course and on fishing trips up at my cabin in Minnesota. And what I want to say to you publicly, Warren, so that all these young hotshots can hear, is that the gold watch there doesn’t mean a god— thing.

And this dinner doesn’t mean a god— thing, and the social security and pension don’t mean a god—  thing. None of these super-fishy-alities mean a god— thing. What means something, what really means something, Warren… (Ray takes a dramatic, drunken pause) What really means something is the knowledge that you devoted your entire life to something meaningful – to being productive and working for a fine company – hell, one of the biggest insurance carriers in the nation… (Ray counts on his fingers and at one point counts the same finger twice) …to raising a fine family, to building a fine home, to being respected by your community and having some wonderful, loyal friendships.

At the end of his career, if a man can look back and say, “I did it. I did my job,” he can retire in peace and glory and enjoy riches far beyond the monetary kind. So all you young people here, here’s a role model. Right here. I want you to take a good look at a very rich man.

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