Michael Joseph Manacci

Amongst the public at large, the hurtful stereotype of geeks being spineless wimps has become so oblivious that it is almost second nature to the character-building of heroes. While it is important to the hero and his/her growth, sage advice from an elder who has long ago ventured down the very same path their pupil is about to walk down. Granted, there are incidents with World Mythology where the hero doesn’t take their advice and the elder attempts to go pass it down to their pupil; it usually will turn round into a positive outcome no matter the cost. Still, there always is the possibility that along our hero’s journey, the roles between mentor and student shall become reversed as the student grows in their tutelage, and the mentor will take a back seat to the keeper of their wisdom. One such excellent example of this is the on-screen relationship between the teenage Marty McFly and his then sixteen-year-old father George McFly, in 1985’s “Back To The Future.”

Set in the relatively nice yet dilapidated small California town of Hill Valley, American teenager Marty McFly rushes his way back to the local High School without being noticed. His plan goes awry when he acquires his fourth tardy slip that week, resulting in his suspension. As he walks away, the head principal makes a snide remark about the loser of a father he has, and his family has and never will amount to anything in this town. To make matters worse, his band completely botches their audition for the battle of the bands later in the day. After his girlfriend tries to console him on the way home from school, Marty returns home to find the family car wrecked and in shambles. His dad, George McFly, takes full responsibility for the accident when he wasn’t the one who crashed the vehicle, but his dad’s supervisor and former high school bully, Biff. After Biff has properly chewed George out like a piece of gum, the McFly family sits down in what is perhaps the most depressing dinner scene in cinema history. Late that evening, Marty receives an urgent phone call from his friend, the ever-eccentric Dr. Emmett Brown, to meet him at twin pines mall immediately. 

Upon arriving at Dr. Brown’s very specific instructions, Marty stands in complete shock and awe at Dr. Brown’s latest creation: A time machine constructed out of a DeLorean. As Dr. Brown casually explains to a still shocked beyond words, Marty, a Libyan terrorist cell arrives almost out of thin air to murder Dr. Brown for stealing their supply of weapons-grade plutonium to power his time machine. As Marty watches Dr. Brown mowed down in a hail of automatic fire in the DeLorean’s rearview mirror, Marty makes a desperate and quick escape into the past, not realizing the time machine is set for thirty years in the past: November 5th, 1955. 

After crashing through the barn of an elderly farmer, Marty emerges from the time machine, not realizing he is still in a full hazmat suit. This frightens the elderly farmer and his family, as they perceive him as alien from a distant world. Escaping the farm at the end of a shotgun barrel, Marty abandons his hazmat suit and heads for the town in true fish-out-of-water style. While Marty initially recognizes his hometown, there still are subtle differences he notices. For instance, the town seems more prosperous and hopeful. Marty quietly steps into a soda shop, orders a bite to eat, and uses the payphone to look for the address of Dr. Brown’s younger self from 1955. During his meal, Marty notices a lanky sort of point-dexter-looking teenage fellow. Strangely enough, he is all too familiar and a complete stranger at the exact same time. Just then, a disgruntled overbearing voice bellows from the front door of the soda shop, “Hey, McFly!” The stranger turns out to be Marty’s father, George, as a teenager.

His Tormentor?

None other than good old Biff himself!

It appears some things shall never change! As they attend School together, Marty starts to really bond with his dad. Although Dr. Brown thinks it is very important to bolster his father’s confidence, he strongly warns Marty that his father must never find out the truth, no matter what the cost may be. 

One day after school, Marty accidentally saves George from getting hit by a car. Marty is seriously injured and is kindly nursed back to health…by his mother as a teenage girl! After a frantic conversation with Dr. Brown, they both conclude that it is now Marty’s main mission to get his parents to fall in love, as that will set the course back correctly that he disrupted. Marty plans on scaring George into asking his mother, Lorraine, to the school dance. However, things go awry when Biff is the one who ends up taking Lorraine to the school dance. 

Marty now realizes that he and Dr. Brown are quite literally in a race against time. Amazingly, within the few hours he has left, Marty helps George to gather the courage and stand up to biff and take Lorraine back. Not only that, but he “invents” the signature guitar solo of “Johnny B. Goode.” With everything back in the place where it should be in the timeline, Marty meets Dr. Brown at the clock tower and uses the electric shock from the lighting strike to give the time machine enough juice to get him back to 1985. Although it almost destroys the time machine, the plan works and Marty is safely sent back to the future. 

Upon returning to the year 1985, Doc is lying on the ground, appearing to have succumbed to his wounds. However, he took Marty’s advice in 1955 and wore a bulletproof vest. Rejoicing for a moment, Dr. Brown drives Marty home as the mentor and pupil part ways. Later that morning, Marty sleeps in as usual, but things have changed dramatically. His siblings are young urban professionals; his mother is sober and in very good health. Even his dad is a highly successful Science Fiction novelist. Perhaps the cherry on top of all this is that Biff is employed by the McFly’s as an auto detailer and takes orders from George. All because George stood up for himself and the woman he loved. 

Surely as Geeks, we have experienced bullying at one time or another while growing up, much in the same way as George McFly was controlled through fear by Biff. While it seems that these individuals can have such a tight rein in our lives, we forget that, at the end of the day, our oppressors are humans just like us. They have experienced hurt, neglect, and heartbreaks just as you have.

Now, we have established that it is right to stand up for oneself, but we, as followers of Jesus of Nazareth, must not seek vengeance. If we do that, then the persecuted becomes the new predator, and the vicious cycle continues. You must extend an olive branch and let those who tormented you know that God never stopped loving them. We must let them know that we are willing to forgive them, just as Christ has forgiven you of your sins. Jesus taught this in Matthew 5:38-48.

“You have heard that it was said an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, give them your coat as well. Whoever forces you to go with him one mile, go two more with them. Give to him who ask you, and never turn away from him who wished to borrow from you’’

“You have heard it said,” Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you now, Do nothing but love, That you may be sons of your father in heaven. So that you may be a son if you pray for forgiveness of your sins, before you hold anything against your brother, forgive him. He causes his reign to fall on both the just and the unjust.  If you love those who love you, what reward is that to you? Even the tax collectors do that? And if you are only to brethren to your own flesh, are not even the gentiles doing this? If you greet only your countrymen only, how are you any different than the Romans? Therefore you are to be perfect , as your heavenly father is perfect.”

Matthew 5:38-48

While it is common knowledge that God and only God can change people’s hearts, we are to be the light of Christ to the world, especially to those who have to project their hurt onto others.