How HBO’s ‘Perry Mason’ Is Teaching Us to Stop Moping (And Get Our Shit Together)
You can learn a lot from Perry Mason. The new HBO prequel series gives viewers a peek into the intrepid defense lawyer’s humble beginnings. When the show starts in the 1930s, Mason is a down-on-his-luck divorced dad living on his parents’ run-down California farm. His existence is sad and slovenly, his only source of affection is a fuck buddy with one eye on his acreage, and he’s struggling to piece together an infant murder mystery case.
But Mason pulls himself up by his bootstraps and mans up when a colleague commits suicide. He soon becomes the polished attorney viewers adored in the ‘50s and ‘60s. You can follow in his gumshoe footsteps and leave your lackluster existence behind, too. Stop moping and get your shit together like Mason with our helpful guide.
Cover Photo: HBO
Clean yourself up.
Your caveman days are over. Quarantine is no excuse. They say, “The clothes make the man” for a reason. Get yourself a sharp tailored suit (or find a personal shopper to deck you out in whatever clothing would be appropriate for your line of work) and wear it well. When you look like a million bucks, people will treat you as worthy.
Find healthy outlets for anger.
Destruction is no longer the name of your game. You need to find ways to channel that energy into something productive. Turn your rage into fuel for an exercise regimen or direct it at policymakers (in appropriate ways, like petitions and phone calls) to instigate real change in the world.
End toxic relationships.
In the series, Mason is screwing a woman who eventually screws him over. This should have come as no surprise; she’d been announcing her intentions to buy his land since the start of the show. Don’t let good sex cloud your judgment. If a relationship isn’t supporting you in becoming the best version of yourself, it’s time to end it.
Get rid of bad habits.
Drinking and smoking aren’t doing Mason any favors and they aren’t doing you any, either.
Don’t let the past define you.
Mason is a WWI veteran who was discharged with a blue ticket (which we’re told is reserved for “undesirable servicemen” but aren’t given any further details). Mason even earned the nickname “The Butcher of Mountfaucon.” But dragging an unflattering legacy like that around takes its toll. If you have regrets, mistakes, or trauma in your past (and, really, who doesn’t have at least one of those?), don’t let them define who you are now.
Mason is stuck in an unsatisfying existence as a private investigator when his colleague on the infant murder case, Elias Birchard, commits suicide. Rather than abandon his efforts, he steps up, passes the bar exam (fraudulently, but still), and becomes a lawyer so he can take over. Don’t wait to be offered opportunities; seize them for yourself.
Contrary to popular belief, no man is an island. When you need help, admit it, then enlist it. Sometimes this will be shelling out some cash. Consider it an investment. Mason does this when he hires his pal Pete Strickland to help out on his cases.
Surround yourself with excellence.
The more you surround yourself with exceptional people -- like Mason does with legal secretary Della Street -- the more their expertise will rub off on you. As the saying goes, if you're the smartest person in your circle of friends, you need new friends.
Do something for the greater good.
Your life isn’t just about you. If you make it that way, we guarantee you’ll be unhappy. Contributing to a greater good will give you purpose and make you feel invigorated. Find a cause and get behind it.
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