“Dude, you’ve GOT to see Avatar! Best movie, ever! Make sure you see it in 3-D, dude, it’s sooooo much better that way!”
This is a statement a friend made to me recently. He took my raised eyebrow to mean I wanted to debate the merits of watching said new movie in 3-D versus 2-D. Nothing could’ve been further from reality, however. The odds of me seeing a science fiction flick in 3D on an IMAX screen in the near future are reasonably nil, a fact that baffled him. It was tantamount to missing The Resurrection as far as he was concerned, but then again, he has no kids. In all likelihood, I’ll see Avatar around the same time as I become a full fledged cocaine-cartel boss.
On the incredibly rare opportunity that I find three hours waiting to be pissed away, I find it hard to walk into a theater and plop down $13 dollars for a ticket $79.43 for popcorn and a small Sprite and sit still. Don’t get me wrong….I love the movies, and there is hardly a better guilty indulgence than to escape into a wild world of cinematic mindlessness. But I’m overwhelmed by the fact that three hours of my life will ebb into the abyss and I’ll have wasted time I could’ve spent on Facebook.
The actual truth is a few blocks down from that statement. The fact is that I’m a dad with two boys under the age of ten. If I’m going to waste a weeks’ pay on a cinematic experience, it better be one that they choose. I can’t see anything that can’t be purchased in toy form at a McDonalds. I cannot name the provinces of Iraq that my brothers served in, but I seem to know the Transformer characters by name, and have cursed their names in vain as I smashed them against a wall in an futile attempt to convert them. I’ve never given a second thought to how moronic it is that a robot would want to transform into a semi truck (I mean, really. What’s he gonna do in everyday life? Haul produce and lounge around in truck stops, only to have his driver seduce prostitutes on an hourly basis?) No, I gladly submit to the hell that is one million parts of Chinese plastic in an attempt to remain relevant in this household.
Those without children use me as an example of the pity they feel. They don’t know the depth of the unspoken, unconditional love that keeps me motivated to engage in thirty light-saber battles a day, always willing to lose for the cause. I wouldn’t do this for your kids, and you wouldn’t do it for mine, but something happens when you’re this invested. Hare-brained schemes like leaving it all to join a Bob Marley & The Wailers tribute band take a back seat, and you’ve become that guy. The one who gets mocked in a silent way when he leaves the party, stone cold sober and eager to catch the 763rd reading of “I Stink” before bed time.
Someday, I’ll be able to join in on discussions about the impact of the latest Hollywood blockbuster on pop culture, but, by then, I probably just won’t care. In the meantime, I’ll still build Lego spacestations and create forts of blankets and pillows to stave off attacks from the Imperial Mom. I can only hope they might want to catch Transformers 12 with me down at the cineplex in a couple of years; at least I’ll know all the characters’ names.