Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

For those you do not recognize the name, Bryan Lee O’Malley is the author of the Scott Pilgrim series, which then became a movie about four and a half years ago. Cool fact, the movie was filmed in Toronto… Cool fact, it is set in Toronto with several Torontonian references so it’s not like they had much of a choice… Anywho, last year O’Malley released his new graphic novel endeavour, Seconds. Personally I liked it a lot, even more than the Scott Pilgrim series. O’Malley maintains his lighthearted tone while dealing with a heavier subject. The simplicity of design and animation panel to panel is just enough information for the reader to get the sense of location and lifestyle of Katie and her restaurant. It gives the character that endearing quality that allows you to project yourself into the story.

We all have those moments that we regret. We wish it never happened, we made the other choice, we walked away from the situation, we never said that thing that we said. That’s part of life. But if you had the power to grant these wishes, would you use it?


Katie does not hesitate. There are many things that she wishes she could change, mainly revolving around her love life and her professional career. For the sake of spoilers, I will not name her specific revisions, but I do want to mention the consequence of all the changes.


It all began well and dandy. She was actually able to do a lot of good. She made a new friend who is a little odd in her own special way, but a new friend nonetheless. She is avoids that horrible dinner from last night that was a little less than agreeable with her stomach. She even manages to erase a night of a few too many drinks.


It is when she begins to make the big selfish changes and exploit this power that impacts her the most. Everybody has those moments they want to change because that certain thing could be the difference… but a changed moment affects more than that moment, ya-know-what-I-mean?


You know, the moment you want to change does not only change that said moment; it actually changes a large group of moments in your life. And really, what is life but a series of moments that are strung together to create this thing we live in where we dwell on what we should do in a particular moment and what are the consequences of that moment?


Get it?


Katie finds that she has changed more than her dinner from last night. She has changed her entire life and eventually discovers that she doesn’t even know who she is. One revision changes her entire life and she is trying to figure out what kind of life she has entered this time. She never thought it would be so different from what she knew. Everything down to her own furniture has drastically changed. The her in this revision is someone that she doesn’t recognize.


We need to be weary of the choices that we make in life, but it is equally important to come to terms with the choices that were already made. It is good to recognize that it may not have been the smartest decision, but you also don’t know for sure if the alternative is any better. That’s the funny thing about life: There is a lack of certainty.


Here’s a very scary thought: the choices we make and the moments we experience can and will define our lives. Life may totally just disregard our wants and needs, but we have to keep on trucking forward.


But a less scary thought is all these choices, good and bad, have formed the person you are today. If you change something about yourself, even if it’s something small, you aren’t the same person as you are right now. You would be a parallel universe version of yourself that is in a truck size amount of debt, who is unhappily married to your ex, who can’t cook, and worse of all, avoids delicious Mexican food to escape the inevitable embarassing flatulence and uncomfortable bowel movements. You wouldn’t be the independent woman who eats whatever she wants, in a smaller more manageable amount of debt, and goes through life with an enough fearlessness that boths works for you and against you.


Which one sounds better to you?

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