Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Saturday, August 28, 2004

I'm Really, Really Sorry About This

Oh, all right, f--k it: I swore when I started this open diary that I wouldn't do this, but maybe, just maybe, if I get the godd--n thing out of my system, it will cease to rattle around my already overwrought mind like a hamster in a paint-mixer. (A cruel image, perhaps, but one of those little f--kers once bit me on the finger, drawing blood and scaring the hell out of me, so I am no friend of theirs.)

The thing is, see, I'm very very lucky in my marriage. Not only is my wife extremely beautiful (I once had one of my many flamboyantly gay friends tell me that he--he--was jealous of me, so beautiful was she), but she is, not to put too fine a point on it, a complete and utter geek. Seriously. More so, I'd say, than I, and that's saying something. Bad science-fiction movies--she loves 'em--can't get enough of 'em--will watch them repeatedly: "Ooo! Screamers is on! Again!" Dumb fantasy novels--she reads 'em--and rereads them. Over and over--especially ones that include the words "dragon" or "crystal" in their titles. She can recite South Park and does a fairly good impersonation of Butters. She brought a framed vintage Star Wars poster into the marriage--and vociferously encouraged me in my subsequent purchase of a limited-edition Boba Fett poster. A recent statement of hers, regarding Alien Versus Predator: "If you see that movie without me, I will kick you in the ---s." (I didn't, needless to say, see it without her. And need I add that we spent several hours afterwards dissecting its flaws? Of course I needn't.) In short, I won the f---ing marriage lottery: a hot chick who likes the same awful s--t that I do. (Inversely, I'd say she didn't do so well in the husband allotment, but, well, them's the breaks. In order for someone to win, someone's gotta lose. Or so I remind her fairly often.)


But the problem is that in her geekdom she fails miserably to curb my own worst habits. By sharing my interest in, say, the burdgeoning romance between Batman and Wonder Woman in Comedy Central's Justice League series, she undermines my ability to come to my senses and not give a rat's ass about such things. By agreeing with me that James Marsden is so utterly, wretchedly vanilla as Cyclops in the X-Men movies, she encourages me to speculate--for way, way too long--who would be better in the part. (Answer: Just about anybody with a pulse whose name is not "Ethan Hawke.")

In short, she validates my geekdom. And like a heroin habit, it's enormously enjoyable most of the time, but it leads inexorably to moments of clarity where one looks in the mirror and says: "I just spent a 45-minute phone conversation arguing whether or not Ralph Fiennes is good casting for Voldemort." And the face that stares back at you looks like that of Robert Downey Jr. when he comes out of that hotel room in Less Than Zero.

All of which means what, exactly?

It means--

Oh God, this is really, really bad.

It means--

Perhaps I shouldn't do this. The truth may set us free, but freedom is overrated, right? Zoo animals live longer, happier lives, right? Right?

Oh, well, I did say "F--k it." OK:

It means I'm still pissed off about Return of the Jedi.

Really, really pissed off about it.

I'm not alone in this dyspeptic condition. Indeed, I can safely pinpoint the exact moment in time that the cynicism of Generation X was born (the most cynical generation since World War I, no less): June of 1983. Because in June of 1983 an entire generation of 11-17 year olds came out of movie theaters all across America, all staring at the cruel gaze of the noon-day sun (because we all saw the first showing of the day), all saying the exact same thing: "...F--king EWOKS?!?!?!?" Yes, at the moment that George Lucas f--ked over our childhoods so that he could sell teddy bears, we all realized, as one, that our dreams did not matter, that what was right was not what always came to pass, that we'd been suckered, sold out, had. And that, I think, is why you can, to this day, put a few beers into any roomfull of 32-36 year olds, mention the fact that Luke and Leia are siblings, and stand back to watch the fun. (Incidentally, here's the acid test to see if you're a member of the much-hyped Gen. X: Try to recite the Preamble to the Constitution. If you can do it, but find yourself involuntarily singing it the Schoolhouse Rock tune, congratulations and welcome. "One-of-us, one-of-us...")


So I've got to do this. I've got to lay out, methodically and carefully, what went wrong in that movie. And how to fix it. Not now. Now, I'm too ashamed about the confession to go on. But soon--very soon--I'm going to do this, just get it out of my system and maybe, maybe then, the healing can begin.

For all of us.


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