One of the greatest movies ever made is a humble little gem called Captain Ron. It’s a comedy, about a stressed out office chump who inherits a large sailboat from his “weird” uncle. The chump, played by Martin Short, decides to bring the ship to a port where an agent will buy the boat from him and he can pay off his looming bills. He also decides to bring his dysfunctional family of working mom, doofus sun and bratty daughter down with him. The idea is that he will be able to bond with them during what he imagines will be a vacation for the family.

They hire a local captain to operate the boat for them (they are the typical clueless white middle class dual-income family), and that is where Captain Ron, played by Kurt Russel, comes in. Captain Ron is a trickster archetype who throws everyone’s expectations and views upside down. He has a laid back demeanor and appears simple-minded. Yet he’s handsome, self-assured, and skilled.

Through subtle interactions, he gets the family members to confront their problems and learn how to be skilled boaters. He frightens them while at the same time expanding their consciousness to include things beyond their narrow experience.

The Captain becomes a headache for the chump, who sees Ron as a personal threat to his self-image. His family’s adoration of the man, and his own repeated bumbling brings out all his insecurities. He begins to work at getting the Captain fired; yet despite his many mistakes the Captain always comes out on top and smelling of roses.

The conflict comes to a head when during an island carnival the chump loses his temper and fires the Captain in front of a large crowd. Unfortunately, he angers a pirate leader in the process, and in the next scene the boat is stolen from the family. They are left adrift in a raft, where they realize how much the Captain has been a force for good in their lives, and how much he has been keeping them safe from harm.

By a twist of fate, they run into Captain Ron who gives them a chance to steal their boat back. This time, the family works together and use the skills they’ve learned to get the boat away from the pirates and out into the sea again. During this affair, Captain Ron feigns a broken leg and forces the chump to do the work.

All of a sudden, the chump realizes Captain Ron has been teaching him to be the Captain. Ron hasn’t just been a decent human being to them, he’s something more. They’ve all learned how to be their own Captains and break out of the lifelessness of their problems. The Captain, seeing that his work is done, leaves them in a tearful farewell. It’s up to them now, and they are ready.

At the end, they decide to live on their sailboat and leave their lives behind. The boat has been transformed from a ruined near-wreck to a lively, operating entity with all the quirks of a family you’d expect. Watching from the wings is Captain Ron, who smiles as he takes on a new group of people in need of help. Their boat expedition is just beginning.

It is at this point I realized Captain Ron is an archetype of the Transcendent Function. He resonates with a powerful energy that brings people together and solves problems that defy solution. How do you really get your head back together, once you’ve bought into the labor workforce drama of marriage – kids – house – old age – death? The secret is a profound mystery. But its fun to watch Captain Ron show us how to be complete human beings. He always knows how to approach somebody’s hang-up and get them to back out of it under their own power.

Someday, you might go on a journey and meet your own personal Captain Ron. Are you ready to be Captain?