Monday, August 2, 2010

How to Fix a Bee Sting

My dad has a hilarious ability to swing from over-protective parenting to laissez faire, no big deal parenting, almost on a dime. The same guy who told me to "Never try that" after watching an Ace Ventura commercial where he catches a bullet with his teeth is also the same guy who happily took me to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back in the theater and sat through it with me.

His approach to emergency medical care left something to be desired though. Every injury was treated with the gentleness of a Civil War era hospital with no anesthesia. Scraped knees from bikes were treated with rubbing alcohol jammed directly on to the wound while you desperately tried to squirm away.

This is all preface to the craziest care he ever administered, but also one of the best memories I have of seeing a movie with him.

My mom was out of town, taking my brother and his friend to an event in Chicago, leaving me with my dad. I remember nothing of that weekend until the day we were supposed to pick them up from the train station. That day, I was outside playing with friends in my neighbor's backyard. While crouched by a wood shed, I felt something crawl on my arm, near my shoulder. I instinctively slapped it and felt whatever it was stop moving. Then, a slow burn started in the area and it really started to hurt. I brushed my shirt sleeve a little more and a huge bumble bee fell out. I started crying from the pain and immediately darted home in terror about the bee sting on my arm.

My dad sat me on the couch, took out his lighter, grabbed a pin from my mom's side table, sterilized the pin with the lighter and went in to remove the stinger. I remember staring at him in slight horror as this was happening, thinking "Wh-What are you going to do with that pin?" He popped the stinger out of my arm, then grabbed a band aid and the phone.

I distinctly remember him calling the doctor's office and basically asking "How can I tell if she's allergic?" It's humorous in retrospect, but to be completely fair to my dad I had never been stung by a bee before, so we had no idea if I was allergic or not. He nodded a few times and asked, "How's your breathing?" Being a slight hypochondriac, I took a few melodramatic breaths to make sure I was ok and replied, "Fine." He talked to the doctor a little more and hung up. To ensure absolute safety, I had to elevate my arm on some pillows and sit there with an ice pack for a while. Again, being a little dramatic and a hypochondriac as a kid, each breath I drew was held slightly and carefully checked to ensure that I would be able to do it again in a moment.

I sat on the couch with my arm elevated, breathing overly slowly, and staring straight forward for a while. I don't know where the decision came in to take me to the movies, but it was on the way to the train station, and clearly I needed some cheering up.

The movie of choice was Babe. Little girl+talking farm animals+singing mice=no more bee sting woes. Sure enough, I was totally happy by the end of the movie. I loved every minute of it. The little pig, the puppies, the duck, James Cromwell saying, "That'll do pig." It all washed over me and made me feel like the bee sting had never happened.

You make it all better James Cromwell. You're not unlike my grandpa (at least in this movie).

We picked up my mom, brother and his friend from the station and drove home.

Of course, I got the movie and watched it a million times over. And despite my love for Babe and the adorable sight of piglets every spring at Kensington Metro Park (also see the Hugh Jackman post for further proof), it has not stopped my mad love for bacon.

Man, I love bacon. And my dad.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"I'll never let go!" Ugh, I don't care.

The first opportunity I had to see that juggernaut of film, Titanic, I blew it off to see The Faculty, starring a pre-Daily Show Jon Stewart, then popular Josh Hartnett, pre-Hobbit Elijah Wood, and a bunch of other people.

I was with my cousin, aunt and uncle, I think around the holidays, and we went to the movies. My cousin and I just so weren't into seeing Titanic at the time, but for some reason had to go into the theater for the very beginning. (Were we theater hoping? Possibly, but it was family sanctioned). So we sat through the old-timey footage at the start, then after maybe five minutes bounced to the next theater and watched people stab pens full of homemade crack into other people's eyes (Jon Stewart included!).

Eventually, I did see Titanic all the way through with some friends. I've always been into history, and have developed a special appreciation and interest over the years for late Victorian into Edwardian and post WWI history. Sadly, Titanic was not history heavy, and more love story heavy, despite quite a bit of period detail. But all that got shoved aside in favor of crap like this:

Get lost twerp and make with the history! Back down to steerage with you!
Also, R.I.P. Italian guy on the right there

My mom, also a history nerd, made numerous comments when I'd watch the movie at home about how a variety of things just wouldn't have happened because of the social constrictions of the time period. These included, the romance itself, and all the spitting gags early in the movie. Rose asks Jack to teach her to spit like a man, and they start hawking loogies over the side of the ship. According to my mom, Rose would never have done it because of her upbringing and social standing, no matter how into slumming it she was and it was actually illegal to spit in public like that because of the health problems it led to (TB and other diseases).

But one of the biggest deals about the movie was how sad it made everyone. How everyone cried during it. For the most part, I wasn't completely moved. Oh I cried, just not at the parts everyone else cried at.

The parts that made me cry when I saw it in the theater:

-The Irish guy being shot
-The Italian guy being crushed under the steam stack
-Mr. Andrews, the ship engineer guy, setting the clock as he stood in one of the tilted dining rooms before he died.
-That old couple lying bed together as the water rises around them.

And the biggie:

-The Irish mom in steerage, tucking her kids into bed and telling them about the land of Tir Na nOg. Why was this so sad for me? Well, in Irish mythology, the land of Tir Na Og is the land of the ever youthful, where no one ever gets sick or grows old. I was a little familiar with Tir Na nOg, having read about it and having seen a movie called Into The West, where one of the legends of Tir Na nOg features prominently (great movie, see it!).

She's telling the kids one of the stories and encouraging them to sleep, clearly in hopes that their impending death will be swift and painless. Mind you, at this point, the steerage level has been locked down, and they are essentially trapped in the belly of the Titanic as it goes down, not to mention there's no lifeboats anyway. Oh my God, that part just made me burst into tears. No one else seemed to understand why I sobbed so hard at that part as opposed to anything else, but the combo of injustice and the knowledge of the story made me lose it.

Parts that didn't make me cry:

-Anything involving Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Sorry. I was unmoved my his frozen corpse and all the "I'll never let go Jack!" stuff.

Just dunk his ass already!

I did overall like the movie at the time though. It was entertaining, had some history, and I got swept up like everyone else. I won't try to rewrite history and pretend I was just too cool and smart for it. I got into the movie, watched it at home, had the soundtrack, the whole nine.

But I was too cool for Leonardo DiCaprio. And I hate that no one believed me no matter how much I explained that while I enjoyed the film, the overall story of the ship and the other people as well as the clothes and history were what kept me coming back. "Sure, sure. It's okay if you have a crush on him," said every adult I would ever talk to about the movie with a smug smile.

Speaking of fashion, I went as Rose from Titanic for Halloween that year. My awesome mom bought the pattern for the dress she wears during the sinking and made it for me (with similar colors and everything). Sadly, I ruined the dress by leaning against something in the lunch room that left a big black smudge dead center in the front.
Truly, the internet never fails to amaze me because this is the exact picture on the front of the McCall's pattern my mom used to make the dress. She made the one on the right for me. I was just trying to find some stills of the doomed characters I cared about, but this is a pretty sweet consolation prize.

I also fell on my ass walking into school because the shoes I wore to go with it had crap traction. So Halloween day I roll in feeling cool, looking good and BAM! Fall right on my ass in front of everyone in the morning holding area. I recovered quickly and went to a back corner. I don't think too many people saw me, and that's how I'm going to keep that memory.

I'd like to add that I would wear the shit out of that blue dress she wears on the prow of the boat there with DiCraprio.

I would look awesome in this dress.

I definitely dug the music at the time too. Not so much the "My Heart Will Go On" song, but the actual score. I was way into that. I tried to learn the main theme on my clarinet. Also, does anyone remember when they'd play "My Heart Will Go On" on the radio and they'd play dialouge during the musical bridge? That was hilarious. It also drove my dad nuts.

Titanic also yielded a fair share of jokes too. Anytime a foggy window was around, someone would inevitably slap their hand on it and drag it down like they did when they were having sex in that car. I tended to get yelled at for doing it though, since it was going to "mess up the window" with fingerprints. Not to mention everyone yelling "ICEBERG, ROIGHT AHEAD!" at any point where it felt appropriate, even if it wasn't.

If I'm bored and it's on, I'll still watch Titanic. It's not a particular favorite, but it's kind of fun to watch every now and then. Unfortunately, I only seem to catch the last third when the ship is sinking, and never the earlier parts I enjoy more. But that's what happens when you watch it on cable, specifically TNT.