When we used to live in Rochester, NY, every time we went to the airport we saw these enormous advertisements for a local college. We used to make fun of the seriousness of the school's marketing message -- my favorite sign read "Tenacity. We teach it." which for some reason always put images of Dickensenian orphans in my head. I thought a lot about tenacity, though, as I watched Will Smith's newest film, The Pursuit of Happyness.
The film tells the tale of Chris Gardner (Smith) who gets the opportunity to train as a stockbroker -- in a six-month internship for no salary -- just as his wife abandons him and his five-year-old son, Christopher (played by Smith's seven-year-old son Jaden). Gardner and his son end up homeless and sleeping in subway bathrooms and homeless shelters to survive, but in spite of this, Gardner shows up for his internship every day in his one neatly pressed suit and tie, never revealing the desperation of his situation to his coworkers and supervisors.