203: “What’ll You Fall For?” (Miranda & Albert)

                “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?”
                -Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

                “That was his thing, I’d noticed. Doing everything with an ironic twist. Like he was going to laugh at himself before anyone else could.” -Melissa Albert, The Hazel Wood

                When I first heard Miranda’s line, I heard “fall” like “die,” as in “remember the fallen.” Hamilton was asking, “If you don’t believe in anything, what’ll you die for?” Then again, we use that little word to mean all sorts of things.
                As a high school teacher–and okay, as someone walking around today–I see a lot of people who refuse to come out and believe in something. I can understand why. Once I believe in something, I’ve shown you how to mock me.  Once I tell you what’s important to me (the thinking goes, subconsciously or otherwise) I’ve shown you how to hurt me. And maybe that’s true.
                I’ve let that “ironic twist” pull me away from all sorts of things. It’s the reason why I still “won’t dance,” and not in Sinatra’s super cool dancy way. I’ve been too worried to start learning. It seemed so important, and I felt so bad at it. (I finally talked to a dance teacher: if I need to look like a clumsy goat in rollerskates, then I need to look like a clumsy goat it rollerskates, because it’s long past time to try). Growing up, watching my big brother, I ran into something similar with basketball and kayaking and plenty of other things–he seemed so much better, and I didn’t see how I could follow him. (Luckily for me, he worked really, really hard to teach me  and bring me along. He still does). All this is nothing new: go to almost any classroom, and you’ll see someone not caring because they don’t want to end up a fool. Watch yourself for a while. Maybe you’ll see the same thing.
                “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?”
                That little word can mean so many things. Heroes “fall” while fighting, and we’re all worried about “falling” for someone’s trick, and Lucifer’s existence changed after “the fall,” but there’s another meaning. I can fall for something. I can fall for someone. Against the odds and without that much explanation, that something or someone suddenly comes to mean the world to me, and to bring me more fully into the world, because I’m giving my heart. I don’t know if that’s what Miranda meant, but these days, when I listen to Hamilton, that’s what I hear him asking.
                ‘If you’re so scared of becoming a fool–if you’re so scared of falling for a trick–then how will you ever fall in love?’

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