Wednesday, May 10, 2006


What did everybody do when they weren't doing the strange and cool and funny and bizarre stuff, the stuff that shifted the story, the stuff that made things move?

That's what I wondered, when I was a kid, watching The Fall Guy and Three's Company and The Dark Crystal and Superman III. The shows on TV always showed you the exciting parts, the parts you needed to know to understand what, exactly, was going on. The movies existed on a level of pure dramatic or comedic tension; there was no boring, diluted middle ground.

But that, I realized, wasn't what life was all about. Life was all middle ground, as far as I could see. You got up and pissed and showered and ate, went to school, ignored the teachers as best as you good, partied at recess as best as you could, came home, watched TV, maybe did some homework, hit the sack. Period. End of story. Rise again, repeat again.

There was none of that shit in the movies or on the tube. Bo and Luke Duke were always getting into mischief; Marty McFly was always on the run, bopping through time, solving space-time paradoxes. Me? I was waiting in line at the cafeteria, hoping the burgers, drab as they were, hadn't been sold out.

I used to daydream a lot, and wish a lot, and hope that one day, some day, there would be a movie that featued all the cut-out parts. The real-life parts. I knew that it would be boring, and not much would happen, but that's what I wanted to see. All the mundane shit that I did, I wanted to see Luke Skywalker do. I wanted to see Darth Vader have to go for a piss, or Frank and Ponch from C*H*I*P*S get a flat tire, curse the ground, wait around for AAA to come bail them out.

All that time! That time that in life is always there, unavoidably so, but in movies is always gone, absent. Most of it so trivial; most of it ordinary. But because it was denied me, on the screen, inversely, or perhaps perversely, I wanted it. I wanted that silver screen to reflect my own life. It couldn't be, just couldn't, that only movies held the magic elixir of excitement and romance and intrigue. If it wasn't on the screen, in my mind, it wasn't valid. So that meant life, in a very real sense, wasn't valid.

I wanted to pay for my ticket and plunk my ass down in a chair and slurp my Coke and wait for the tediousness of everyday life to take hold. I would have watched, happily, Kirk and Spock just shoot the shit for hours on end. It's probably why I like Star Trek V and nobody else does (except for Canadian sci-fi writer Robert Sawyer.) We get to see Kirk and Spock and Bones camping. We get to see them arguing about nothing at all. We get to see them sing, or attempt to sing, old songs. Badly. We get to see life, the small parts of life, played out.

And by seeing them in that fictional form, on the big screen, life itself, or maybe just my life, became validated.

Which, depending on how you look at it, is kind of a cool thing or a sad thing.

No comments: