|Swiss Cheese Sunday, Aprilcot
16, 41 A.B.
Went to see a movie this afternoon.
Usually when I go to see a movie, I shower and dress up a bit.
Today I went as-is.
This apparently did little to improve what I saw....
This going as-is was just one of several recent changes in my behavior
that I've experienced lately.
Going to a movie at all is something of a change in behavior, today's being
my first since January.
A marginally more interesting change in behavior would have been apparent
had I actually showered before going. Seems I've taken to showering
without bothering to close my bathroom window blinds. This doesn't
make any great difference in the grand scheme of things, of course, but
still... it is a change in my behavior. Especially when you
consider that I would never have done anything so bold 20 years ago when
my bathroom window faced an empty parking lot while now it is quite
visible from my heavily traveled road. The window is small, and its
lower edge is higher than my nipples, so its not exactly as if I've become
an exhibitionist in my old age. And yet, it certainly is an odd sensation,
standing in my first floor shower, quite naked (the better to dry off,
you understand), and... watching actual live traffic go by.
Coupled with my recently acquired taste for long-abhored jelly beans, I
am forced to wonder aloud: "Am I becoming a Wild Man?"
"No, I am not" the answer quickly comes back to me.
The fact that I am asking at all, however, is yet another noticeable
change in behavior.
Spooky how fast they add up!
"Where The Money Is" - that was the title of today's movie.
I'd never heard of it before some friends invited us to go see it with
I doubt that I'll remember it tomorrow.
Neither good enough to be an Oscar contender in any category, nor bad enough
to be unintentional campy fun, it now seems to have been the perfect waste
That's not necessarily a criticism, of course. Sometimes the best
thing to do with a given stretch of time is waste it. But I personally
hate to turn to others to waste those stretches of time for me. I
do such a good job, after all, that it feels like being dressed by someone
else. Sure, they can do it, but it almost always ends up feeling
wrong - like they've left at least one sock twisted or my shorts pulled
up too tight.
"Where The Money Is" left me feeling as if both socks had been left
twisted and a shoe stuck in my back pocket.
After I'd failed to completely dry off from my shower.
In the movie (as opposed to in my shower with the blinds wide open), Paul
Newman plays an incarcerated bank robber who fakes a severe, virtually
coma-inducing stroke in order to be transferred from prison to a nursing
home where conditions are easier and escape more likely. He says
he studied and/or practiced Zen Buddhism and yoga in the prison library
for 2 1/2 years in order to pull this off. In the end, he got so
good at it that he not only fooled needle-wielding doctors but allowed
a roach to crawl over his face and part way up his nose without giving
any indication that he knew it in the off-chance that a guard was watching.
OK, so Questions #1-4: If he achieved as much mind-over-body self-control
as he says he did, wouldn't he have used it to - oh, I don't know - enjoy
life as a prisoner rather than launch his stroke act? If you
can completely mentally insulate yourself from the harshness of needles
and cigarette burns, can't you mentally insulate yourself from the harshness
of prison life? Is forcing yourself to remain virtually catatonic
for months and months really an improvement, even as a possible means to
eventual freedom? Are months and months of adult diapers really worth
that? Not to mention feeding tubes. And having to be rolled
over 3 times a night to prevent bedsores.
Talk about the cure being worse than the disease....
So he gets placed in a nursing home.
And his chief nurse somehow intuits he's faking it.
Even though her attempts to get a reaction out of him with a bit of lap
Question #5: The screenplay was written by a man, wasn't it? Seems
that movies in which older guys attract the relatively young female lead
always are. In this case, watching the 40-year-old Linda Fiorentino
do her best to sexually arouse a catatonic 75-year-old Paul Newman while
in his wheelchair prompted this question to pop up and flash in rainbow
But maybe that's just me and my brain's tendency to seize every chance
it gets to look at neon colors.
Moving right along....
Nurse eventually gets bank robber to confess his ruse.
Nurse realizes her life in a dreary town sucks.
Nurse decides to turn her life around before it's too late by becoming
a bank robber herself.
Questions #6-8: Hasn't she ever heard of night school? Relocating?
And much less humorously:
Question #9: I know the credits say this movie was filmed in Montreal,
but come on - does Canada really have places that look as bad as
the towns in her area do?? I refuse to believe it.
And I know Ohio squalor when I see it!
Anyway, the movie ended a mere 88 minutes or so after it began. Having
made it 12 years through the Toledo Public Schools system, I can sit through
a mere 88 minutes of almost anything that doesn't involve surgical instruments,
Celine Dion, or Amway.
And in truth, it really wasn't an awful movie.
It's just that it wasn't much of a movie at all.
Just one more hole in the Swiss cheese of life.
Like the day itself (which is why I agreed to go in the first place).
And I hate that. I hate those things and those days that are most
notable for everything they lack. So much of the universe and eternity
is not cheese, you know? Does the cheese itself also have to
be not cheese??
I know, I know - Swiss cheese wouldn't be Swiss cheese without the holes,
and life wouldn't be life without the holes of untaken roads, unmet strangers,
and movies like this.
Forgive me for wanting things to be different.
And if you have enough cheese to spare, forgive me for writing an entry
that might itself be more hole than not....