Tuesday, July 7, 2020

even get outside once in a while

I turned thirteen the year after Josh did. He got the big city fantasy, the cool job (though inside two months it's feeling less cool by the time he leaves), the girlfriend who (eventually) plays along with his childish ways, the great apartment with the high ceilings and open spaces
(I wanted Josh's apartment so much when I would grow up. I mean, how could I not think about the things I would want as a grown up when I'm watching this movie. I've said in this blog time and time again before that when I was younger I didn't think too seriously about the future, because, you know, late - Cold - War World War III fears coupled with cult leanings into the end of the world meant I was bombarded regularly by the idea that I would never actually have to adult. Certainly wouldn't grow up to have some corporate job, fun or not. And, I was a sad, overweight, late - bloomer, so the idea of a girlfriend who put up with my shit or not -- that was a bigger fantasy than most of the movies I was watching.
Riding my bike off to hang out with a friend like Josh does -- that, I did. We might ride to each other's houses or ride the mile or so down to the Pac Man Arcade, or just look for pieces of sidewalk raised up by tree roots to jump our bikes off. 
Or hang out at each other's houses. Play with whichever Venn diagram collection of Star Wars and G.I.Joe and Masters of the Universe and M.A.S.K. and whatever else toys were there and wish for t hem over the ones we had back at our own house because toys get old, just like chores get old, just like anything can get old if you don't change it up from time to time... 
Especially when the end of the world is nigh and all that, and toys and movies is most of what all you've got. I mean, prior to the recent school year, I had my Lone Wolf books, too. I had read those and so many Choose Your Own Adventure books over and over, let the fantasy of other worlds and other adventures, even min us the big (or small*) screen, sink in and take over my imagination because that made life better, then.
(* that spring, I'd been watching awesome stuff like Werewolf, Macgyver, 21 Jump Street, Cagney & Lacey, Moonlighting, Jake and the Fatman, The Equalizer, Probe, Max Headroom, Simon & Simon, High Mountain Rangers, and Tour of Duty. And, that's just the dramas. Cops, adventures, science fiction, even horror .)
I think I've written in this blog before about mixing and matching different brands and types of toys. Grimlock and Xamot would fight right alongside a Tonka truck and a stuffed bear because in my head, the reality didn't matter as much as the story I could put together and act out. Even when a friend wasn't over. 
And, I was trying to write my own stories from at least as early as the 4th grade, and that's just the ones I still have pieces of. It was in the 7th or 8th grade -- 7th was right before Big, 8th was right after -- that I finally wrote something that I finished. A short story about a vampire. It was called Blood Withdrawal, because I was already a melodramatic proto - emo nerd kid even before I was a teenager. 
And, it wasn't very good. But, that didn't stop me from making a couple copies that ended up circling around the school. And it didn't stop me from trying to expand it into a novel a few years later that I would never finish. 
I don't rightly know when I stopped operating as if the world was ending. I mean, I went to college right out of high school, wanted to go to film school but didn't get in, and I think even before I was there I was well on my way to rejecting my religious upbringing. Had I gotten t he chance at 13 like Josh to fast forward to adulthood, maybe I would have gotten there sooner, realized the world was far bigger -- no -- far greater than the one I had been raised in, and managed something more. 
But, looking back now, I can't thin k too far in that direction because different college choice out of high school means different jobs in my 20s means I probably don't spend so much time online as soon as I've got regular access, and I don't meet two girlfriends and then my wife online and I don't have my kids, I don't go back to school, I don't write this blog, or podcast, or any of the anything I've done in all those years since. 
I'm sure I'd have done something similar, but I don't want something similar. I want this branch of the multiverse I'm on right now, where my kids are great, my wife is great, I write and talk about movies all the time, and I guess I get paid to teach, too. 
If you've kept up with this blog from the beginning, you know that grad school and teaching have b een a far bigger piece of my recent years that's the previous phrasing implies. But, this is the blog where I'm saying this so it's the movie talk that matters, and the relationships, but let me get out of the parenthetical for the latter...)
but he's got no other friends, no family. All that space and all those toys won't mean much for long without other people. And, he Is leaving his best friend Billy behind almost immediately, and he's going to have trouble relating to Susan the more the y are together, I would think, because he's not just a fellow adult with a spark of innocence and fun about him, he is a kid playing a part. By the end of the film, he's getting pretty good at playing that part, but it is still just a part unless he is going to change some fundamental things about himself, and those fundamental things are not meant to be changed so quickly, magically. You need the hard years to be ready for the better ones. You gotta drop out of USC so you can go to CSULA all those years later. Gotta be awkward around girls (unless you're friends with them) so that years later you can meet and marry Sarah and she will put up with all of your craziness and your obsession with movies, and one day last month she recorded a guest spot on one of your podcasts and now she is starting one of her own and, sure, there is a pandemic out there, but life in your apartment is pretty good, and Big is on again and Tom Hanks' performance is great, and he's only up to his first sleep over with Susan but I think I'm watching the extended version of the film tomorrow so I'll rant again then.

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