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 them.
     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 of time.
     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 dancing fail.
     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 neon colors. 
     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?  Internet chat? 

     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....


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(©Now by the crock aged Dan Birtcher)