The Nakatomi Problem

Teaching can rapidly devolve into the film Die Hard.

Don’t look at me like that Bruce Willis. Yes it can.

‘How?’ I hear you patently not actually say.

Well, I’ll tell you imaginary reader who hasn’t actually said anything.

Think on this. What’s the biggest problem John McClane (who, for the purposes of this drivel, is representative of handsome teachers everywhere but especially me – there aren’t many that can rock a stained white vest like I can, although no dirt and blood on mine – all hydrogenated fats, baby) faces within the film?

Yes, bullets approaching him at high speed is up there. Walking on glass barefoot is also quite nasty but I think I’d take that over trying the same thing in a school cafeteria just after lunch. At least the glass isn’t half-chewed.

McClane’s biggest hurdle to overcome within that pulse pounding action extravaganza is simple isolation.

Nakatomi is cut off from the outside world. McClane knows what’s going on and tries to fight it the best he can. The thieving crims know what’s going on and use the situation to their advantage. The twinkie-eating cop knows what’s going on because he has a direct line of contact and actually talks to John.

The LAPD, however, clutz about outside waving through ill-thought-out strategies leading to chaos and awesome rocket explosions, blame John for what’s going on when it doesn’t work, attempt to appease the criminals and actually go some way to enabling their activities.

All from outside the building.

So lets sum up. John McClane is the teacher. The Nakatomi Building is the classroom. Let’s say the thieving crims are challenging students (Woah, Woah. IT’S ALLEGORICAL PEOPLE. I don’t actually think that misbehaving children are akin to arch-criminals. Saying that though, add automatic weapons and an difficult to place Euro-trash accent? Well, there’s not much difference.)

So who are the LAPD?

Hopefully, if you’re Senior Management (I’ve put that in capitals due to importance) this isn’t you. Hopefully you’re a hands-on, lead-by-example, seen-in-the-corridors, backs-up-his-or-her-staff-in-front-of-the-kids-even-if-you’re-not-sure-if-they’re-right gung-ho badass who would storm Nakatomi single-handed, join up with McClane and start kicking booty and taking names at the first opportunity.

So you say you’re having some issues? Right – let’s do this thing.

Because what’s the alternative if you’re not?

We’ll then it’s down to one heroic but isolated guy or gal facing the chaos alone. McClane did it whilst saving his marriage, instilling faith in his fellow twinkie-eating officer and refusing to be upstaged by Alan Rickman’s fantastically humorous portrayal of sophisticated, cold-hearted greed. But then McClane’s a fictional character in an action movie and those guys always win.

The rest of us might need a bit of help. Don’t wait until someone gets pushed out of the window and lands on your car bonnet. Come on in and we’ll get the job done together. And dammit, we’ll do it right.

Welcome to the party, pal.

By the way this really isn’t going to fly unless you’ve seen the film. If you haven’t, c’mon, what on earth’s the matter with you? It’s been 25 years since it was released. It’s on every Christmas. What do you do? Go out for walks and talk to your family at that special time of the year?


Now I think about it, I should really have put this at the top before the blog, shouldn’t I? Oh well, if you haven’t seen Die Hard I don’t think I really want you reading it anyway. Go get it watched and then you can come back and marvel at the aptness of the metaphor. 


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