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  • Jeff Eaker

Fuck pride. It only hurts, it never helps.

Updated: Sep 20



We fade up on Butch Coolidge, a white 26 year old prizefighter. Butch sits at a table wearing a red and blue high school athletic jacket. Talking to him off screen is everybody’s boss: MARSELLUS WALLACE. The black man sounds like a cross between a gangster and a king.

MARSELLUS (O.S.)

“I think you’re gonna find – when all this shit is over and done – I think you’re gonna find yourself one smiling motherfucker. Thing is Butch, right now you got ability. But painful as it may be, ability don’t last. Now that’s a hard motherfucking fact, but it’s a fact of life your ass is going to have to get realistic about. This business is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers who thought their ass would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don’t. Besides Butch, how many fights you think you got left. Two? Boxers don’t have an old timer’s league. You came close but you never made it. And if you were gonna make it you would have made it by now.”


“Now the night of the fight you might feel a slight sting. That’s pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. It only hurts, it never helps. Fight through that shit because a year from now when you’re kicking it in the Caribbean, you’re gonna say Marsellus Wallace was right.”


There are many great scenes in Pulp Fiction but this one is my favorite. Actually, all the scenes in Pulp Fiction are pretty great and each one has a special place in my heart. Never-the-less this is my favorite scene. And I think the reason is that it’s so universal. You could easily replace this conversation between an aging boxer and the head of a national crime syndicate with any number of other characters. For example, me. And my boss.


We fade up on Jeff Eaker, a white 51 year old creative director. Jeff sits at a table wearing a faded One Show t-shirt from 2004. Talking to him off screen is everybody’s boss: THE CCO. The boss sounds like a cross between a rich douchebag and an overly entitled man-child.


CCO (O.S.)


“I think you’re gonna find – when all this shit is over and done – I think you’re gonna find yourself one burned out motherfucker. Thing is Jeff, right now you got enthusiasm. But painful as it may be, enthusiasm don’t last. Now that’s a hard motherfucking fact, but it’s a fact of life your ass is going to have to get realistic about. This business is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers who thought their career would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don’t. Besides Jeff, how many big ideas you think you got left. Two? Creatives don’t have an old timer’s league. You came close but you never got a job offer from Chiat. And if you were gonna get a job offer from Chiat, it would have happened by now.”


“Now, when you’re working on CRM, web banners and completely functional social tiles that have absolutely zero fucking creativity, you might feel a slight sting. That’s pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. It only hurts, it never helps. Fight through that shit because a year from now when we lay you off, you’re gonna thank me just for making it stop.”

Here’s another scenario where the lion’s share of Tarantino’s original dialogue holds up just fine. It takes place three years ago, between my ex-wife and I as she informed me of her intention to become my ex-wife.


We fade up on Jeff Eaker, a white 48 year old clueless man. Jeff sits at a table wearing a green Smitten with the Mitten t-shirt. Talking to him off screen is his soon to be ex-wife. She sounds like a cross between a woman I’ve loved for 12 years and the guy who works the guillotine at an 18th century French prison.


EX-WIFE (O.S.)


“I think you’re gonna find – when all this shit is over and done – I think you’re gonna find yourself one broke and depressed motherfucker. Thing is Jeff, right now it makes me sick just to look at you. But painful as it may be, soon you will feel the exact same way about me. Now that’s a hard motherfucking fact, but it’s a fact of life your ass is going to have to get realistic about. This marriage business is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers who thought their wives would put up with their bullshit forever and their marriage would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don’t. Besides Jeff, how many gigantic fuck-ups you think you got left. Two? Gigantic fuck-ups don’t have an old timer’s league. You came close but you never got me a Fendi bag. And if you were gonna get me a Fendi bag, it would have happened by now.”


“Now, when you see what’s left of your paycheck every month after alimony and child support, you might feel a slight sting. That’s pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. It only hurts, it never helps. Fight through that shit because a year from now after you go through the hardest year of your entire life and then by sheer luck end up meeting the woman of your dreams, you’re gonna thank me for kicking your ass out of the house you bought.”


See, it still works. And to be honest I think Ving Rhames would be just fine in the role of my ex-wife. He’s a really good actor. But just to prove out the concept one last time, here’s yet another scenario.


We fade up on Jeff Eaker, a white 51 year old failure. Jeff sits at a table wearing a stained “#1 Dad” t-shirt. Talking to him off screen are his two sons. They sound like a cross between a 7 and 10 year-old boy and a disgruntled dental hygienist.


KIDS (O.S.)


“I think you’re gonna find – when all this shit is over and done – I think you’re gonna find yourself one empty-nested motherfucker. Thing is Dad, right now we need you. But painful as it may be, kids needing their dad don’t last. Now that’s a hard motherfucking fact, but it’s a fact of life your ass is going to have to get realistic about. This parenting thing is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers who thought their kids would look up to them forever and their devotion would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don’t. Besides Dad, how many major gaming system purchases you think you got left. Two? Broke ass dads don’t have a broke ass dad league. You came close but you never could afford to send us to sleep-away camp. And if you were gonna send us to sleep-away camp, it would have happened by now.”


“Now, when you see the PS5 that mom’s new rich boyfriend got us, you might feel a slight sting. That’s pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. It only hurts, it never helps. Fight through that shit because about 5 years from now we’re gonna want to borrow your car, any damn time we want.”


Again, I think Ving Rhames could voice both kids. I stand by his acting abilities. However, I’m open to other casting suggestions. The important part is that we keep the integrity of the scene. And no matter what the context, we stay consistent with the dialogue and the tone—especially when we get to what might be the most pivotal line in the entire film:


“Fuck pride. It only hurts, it never helps.”

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