What I Learned From...300

So the big opportunity finally comes knocking at your door. The high-paying job. The opportunity to sell your invention. The chance to hit primetime. Only one slight problem...they want you to do it at the expense of your values or the integrity of the idea. In one hand you hold the prospect of the "American Dream", albeit slightly tarnished. In the other you hold the core of who you are. And you choose...

I finally saw a movie on opening weekend..."300 ". If you don't know the story, it's based on the real-life battle of Thermopylae, at which 300 Spartans held their ground in heroic fashion against an army of Persians hundreds of thousands strong. They eventually were defeated, but their heroism went down in history and King Leonidas, who led the Spartans, is one of the most revered figures in Greek history.

(c) Warner Bros.(c) Warner Bros.As the movie presents the Spartans, they have a certain "way" about them. They're born and bred to fight. The weak are weaned out from the earliest ages, and from the age of seven the men are sent to what amounts to war camp, where they are trained how to be tough until they're ready to join the Spartan army. Not exactly renaissance men, but they find their identity in their independence and find glory in heroic death on the field of battle.

After a few skirmishes where the Spartans handily defeat the invading army, Persian King Xerxes pays a visit to Leonidas, where he offers him power and wealth beyond his imagination if he will only bow before Xerxes and revere him as God. This doesn't sit well with Leonidas' psyche, and he refuses. When Xerxes tells him to lay down his weapons, Leonidas replies by saying "Come and get them!", an apparently real-life statement which is now the Greek equivalent of "Give me liberty or give me death!"

Eventually Leonidas and all of his men are struck down, but the story of his integrity and his last stand inspire the rest of Greece to stand and fight, and they eventually repel the Persian army.

So what do you do when opportunity comes knocking, but asks for your heart and your soul in return? You tell opportunity to "Come and get them!"

Tim Whitney
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