Movie Review – The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm

Directed by Wolfgang Peterson

Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane, Karen Allen, William Fichtner, Bob Gunton, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

I will confess, I had zero expectations towards The Perfect Storm. The TV spots weren’t grabbing me, and most descriptions I read online made it sound like some kind of lame Titanic wannabe. I was going to skip over it completely this summer, but I’ve seen a few other blockbusters now, and the trailer for The Perfect Storm seemed to be in front of each one. The trailers made it look better than the TV spots, and so I took a “what the hey? I’ll see it” attitude towards it.

Capt. Billy Tyne (Clooney) is the captain of the Andrea Gail, a swordfish boat, and he’s hit the biggest slump of his career. The fish just aren’t biting for him, and the season is coming to a close. His crew, led by a rookie (Wahlberg) is starting to lose faith in their captain. Things just aren’t good for this crew. Out of desperation, Tyne takes his boat out one last time, knowing that the fish are out there, and that this time they’ll bite for him. He takes the boat further out than ever before, and he hits paydirt. They get a hold full of fish, but their ice machine is broke. They’ve got to get home, and quick. It’ll mean plowing through a hurricane, but they’ll do it. But, unbeknownst to them, the hurricane has escalated into a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon known as a “perfect storm.” Can the crew survive this perfect storm? Will the rookie get back home to his girl, who’s weathering the storm at home? Will the coast guard rescue the crew in time?

This is just one damn good movie. I don’t know what life on a real fishing boat is like, but if it’s anything like this, sign me up. The crew are just a bunch of average folks, and reminded me of my time on a gravel crusher all those summers ago. All the advertising seems to be leaving out the sub-plot about the Coast Guard’s search, which is just as good as the main plot. Mastrantonio adds just the right touch as the captain of a rival boat, and a love interest for Clooney. The special effects are just amazing. We get to see cargo ships and supertankers trying to weather the storm. And the ending! It actually made me cry. A few minor quibbles (the score was done by the same guy who did the music for Titanic, and at times it sounds like Titanic leftovers), but don’t let that stop you. SEE THIS MOVIE!

3.5 Nibs

Movie Review – The Patriot

The Patriot

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Starring Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs, Chris Cooper, Tchéky Karyo, and Rene Auberjonois.

“From the creators of Independence Day…. No words in a coming attraction seem to stir my blood more. ID4 still ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite movies. I think I’m the only person on the planet who’ll defend Godzilla. So, when I read that “the creators of Independence Day were teaming-up with the guy who wrote Saving Private Ryan to do an epic about the American Revolution, I could hardly wait. When I was in the theater to see The Patriot, and the lights dimmed, I said to myself, “OK, Roland. Justify my love!”

Mel Gibson is Benjamin Martin, a former soldier who has done terrible things in his past. But, he’s retired now, and focusing on raising his seven children, and tending to his farm. He’s trying to put his past behind him, and move on with his life. But, things are never as easy as they seem. The year is 1776, and the American colonies have just declared their independence. A revolution is brewing, and Martin wants no part of it. But his eldest son Gabriel (Ledger) believes it’s a cause worth fighting for, and joins the militia against his father’s wishes. A few months pass, and soon the war is literally taking place in Martin’s backyard. His second-eldest son is murdered by the cruel Col. Tavington (Issacs) of the Green Dragoons, and Martin is just royaly pissed off. Martin then joins the militia for two reasons: vengeance for his second-eldest son, and to watch over Gabriel. Oh, and along the way, he falls for the sister of his deceesed wife (Richardson), who’s watching over the rest of his kids. Will Martin learn that there is more to this war than vengeance? Will he come home alive?

I know a lot of people who hated ID4 for its blatent Americanism. Well, that team has managed to create a movie that’s even more rah-rah for the red, white and blue. But then, it’s their revolution, so what did you expect? Emmerich proves once again that his forte is with the big explosions and action scenes. The sweeping vistas of battleships in harbours and the battle scenes are breath-taking, but the human stories in between just seem to be lacking something. Mel, as always, is Mel, and manages even to get in some good comic scenes, but there’s nothing specatcular about his performance. But, I do like Rene Auberjonois (Odo on Deep Space Nine), and he pops up in a small role as a preacher. Who knows? Maybe I’ve grown up, but the creators of Independence Day haven’t. Ultimatley, I have the same complaint about this film that I had about Titan A.E.: it’s good, but I so wanted it to be great.

2.5 Nibs

The Fugitive Kind

Chaos in Print

When I was a kid, I read a lot of Archie comics. There was this one that always stuck out in my mind. That was the one where Archie and Betty got really drunk one night and lost their virginity to each other. No! I kid! There was no such issue of Archie. The one I’m talking about was this one where the gang was playing this game. Reggie was going to go hide somewhere in town, and the rest of the gang had until sundown to find him. Of course, nothing can be simple in the world of comics. Reggie ate a bad doughnut from Pop’s, so the kids had to find him before he keeled over from food poisoning. Now, you are probably asking “Why does this story stick out? Get back to that Archie-doing-Betty thing.” It sticks out for one simple reason: I always wanted to play that game.

Think about it. It’s essentially extreme hide and seek. Rather than just hiding in your parents’ backyard, a whole town is your playground. Rather than one person searching for a group of people, it’s the one who is the hunted. This would be the ultimate test of individual resourcefulness. You’d be MacGyver for a day. Richard Kimbal in pursuit of the one-armed man. The hunter and the hunted. I’m getting giddy just thinking about it.

This has been dwelling a lot on my mind lately. I’ve already spent many a day dreamy afternoon devising strategies for my home town. There are essentially two strategies in something like this. You can either keep moving, or you can find a place to hide. If you choose to hide, then it had better be one damn good place. I’ve gone through my home town in my mind. Where would be the best places to hide? Who’s place is deserted, and wouldn’t notice me sneaking through the backyard? Is that place technically in town?

But then I start moving out of the town. There’s that provincial park just down the hill. Lots of trees. Lots of places to hide. Hah. I’ve been going to that park every summer ever since I was a boy. I know every square centimeter. They’d never find me in the park. But then, where’s the challenge in that? Knowing that I’d win? And besides, there are lots more challenges in the urban environment.

So I start plotting some more. I begin plotting strategies for smaller parts of large cities…like West Edmonton Mall. And then I start plotting strategies for small cities…like Camrose. Then, I plot strategies for every village, town, and city I’ve ever visited. I quite possibly think I could hide for days just about anywhere. But then, that’s where the sadness sets in.

I’ll never be able to test these strategies. How do you ask your friends to play a game like this? “Yeah, you hunt me down like a dog, and I see if I can hide from you. Yup, I’ll be in the whole town somewhere. No, I’m serious. C’mon, it’ll be fun. What do you mean, what’s the point? To see if I can hide from the cops if I’m ever accused of a crime I didn’t commit. No! I didn’t do anything illegal! This is just for fun. No, it’s not weird. I got it from an old issue of Archie!” See, it just doesn’t work that way. It’s a very bizarre game to ask people to play with you.

Seeing as to how I’m kind of becoming the developer of this game, I think I should start laying down some ground rules. Like in Fight Club. But before I lay down the rules, I guess I should name this game. Fugitive seems appropriate. So, let’s lay down some rules:

First rule of Fugitive: do not talk about Fugitive. Actually, feel free to talk about it. The more the merrier. I just couldn’t resist the cheap Fight Club joke.

Second rule of Fugitive: there will be only one Fugitive in a game. There will be a minimum of six hunters.

Third rule of Fugitive: there is a time limit. In villages (i.e. Entwistle), games only go for six hours. In towns/small cities (i.e. Camrose), nine hours. In large cities (i.e. Edmonton), twelve hours.

Fourth rule of Fugitive: the Fugitive gets a half-hour head start.

Fifth rule of Fugitive: when the game begins, the Fugitive can carry no gear with him/her, except the following: wrist watch (to know when the game ends), wallet, and an agreed upon amount of money. All other gear/equipment must be bought/stolen/borrowed during the game. Well, not stolen. I’d like to keep this legal.

Sixth rule of Fugitive: the game ends one of two ways. When a hunter makes physical contact with the Fugitive, the hunters win. If the Fugitive stays hidden until the time limit expires, the Fugitive wins.

Seventh rule of Fugitive: anything goes in tracking the Fugitive. Anything within the confines of the law, of course. I’d like to keep this legal.

Eighth rule of Fugitive: the Fugitive must stay within the boundaries of the agreed upon play area. i.e. the city, town, village.

Ninth rule of Fugitive: try not to barge through stranger’s homes. If it’s a friend’s house, feel free about asking for a hiding place. Cutting through a stranger’s backyard is a grey area, though, so be careful if you do that.

Ideally, the hunters should have some kind of communication system so they can talk to each other. It’s not necessary, but seems like it would be appropriate. Cell phones are all cheap enough, they could all have a cell phone. And that, would be the game.

So, what do you think? Do I have too much time on my hands, or what? I can tell you one thing, I’d last longer than Reggie. I think I will ask my friends to try this next time we meet. Now that I’ve got the rules all laid out, there’s only one to test it. Play it. Can you survive?

Movie Review – Chicken Run

Chicken Run

Directed by Nick Park and Peter Lord.

Starring the voices of Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Miranda Richardson, Jane Horrocks, and Benjamin Whitrow.

I’ve always been a fan of stop motion animation and it’s sibling, claymation. With the rush to computer animation going on, it’s a medium that’s starting to get overlooked. That’s why I thought it was cool when I first heard about Chicken Run. Here, in this world of CGI shiny things, was a good old fashioned claymation film.

Things aren’t going that well for Ginger (Sawalha). She’s a chicken, and all her life she’s known nothing but imprisonment on Tweedy’s Chicken Farm. She longs for freedom, and dreams of what’s over that hill on the horizon. Sure, she could escape, but she fears what will happen to her fellow chickens who would get left behind: scatterbrained Babs (Horrocks), Scottish engineer Mac, old rooster/soldier Fowler (Whitrow), and all the others. So, all her escape plans involve everyone escaping. Things soon start to seem futile, but then Rocky the Flying Rooster (Gibson) drops in from the sky. Since he’s billed as the flying rooster, it seems that salvation is at hand: he can teach everyone to fly over the fence. Soon, it becomes a race against time. Mrs. Tweedy (Richardson) is frustrated over the dropping price of eggs, and wants to switch to producing the more profitable chicken pies. She has even begun building the pie-making machine. Can Rocky and Ginger save all the chickens before they all become pies?

Only one word describes this film: cute. The entire design of the chicken farm is meant to resemble a World War II POW camp, and there are lots of subtle references to POW films. Even the music is meant to conjure up memories of those films. Gibson does great as the cocky American rooster, and even manages to slip in a subtle reference to Braveheart. The film was mostly made in England, so you’ll find that dry, British wit underlying the whole movie. With cute characters, funny jokes, and a great reference to Star Trek at the climax, it’s hard to hate this film. Truly an animation treat this summer.

3 Nibs

Midnight Ramblings X

Chaos in Print

NOTE: Oh, c’mon, do I have to do this? You all get it by now. I e-mail my buddy Neelix just to get whatever’s bugging me off my manly chest. If you don’t know this, where have you been?

Hey Neelix!

I hope you don’t mind, but before we get to the good stuff, I’d like to take a moment to bitch about the cancellation of one of my new favorite TV shows: Now and Again. If you didn’t watch it, here’s what it was about. The show followed the adventures of Michael Weissman, a happily married family man and insurance executive. He was killed in a freak subway accident in the pilot episode…or so his family thought. What really happened was a super-secret government organization rescued his brain, and put it in a genetically-manufactured 26-year old body, with “the strength of Superman, the speed of Michael Jordan, and the grace of Fred Astaire.” (or so the opening narration said.) And so, each episode chronicled the adventures of Mr. Weissman as he went about with Dr. Theodore Morris, the quasi-mad scientist who created him, on all kinds of adventures. Each episode was juxtaposed with a sub-plot about how his wife, daughter, and best friend were coping with his “death” and rebuilding their lives. One little wrinkle: Mr. Weissman is still madly in love with his wife and daughter, and if he reveals his true nature to them, they will be killed. The best episodes were when their paths crossed, and the extremes that Mr. Weissman (or, Mr. Newman as he adopted as his alias) would go through to keep her from knowing the truth. Oh, this show rocked! It’ll forever be remembered along side The Flash and Space: Above And Beyond as a show too cool to last.

Actually, I hope they do something to resolve the season finale cliffhanger that the final episode had. The Eggman, the villain that Mr. Weissman put away in the pilot, busted out of prison and went out seeking revenge. Roger (Mr. Weissman’s best friend) officially left his wife by looking for an apartment and sleeping with his real estate agent. Lisa (Mr. Weissman’s wife) stumbled upon some evidence that there was something funny about her husband’s death. Mr. Weissman, fearing that his wife had discovered the truth about him, escaped from the military facility where he resides and went to rescue his wife and daughter. I’ll never forget that image. Lisa and Heather (the daughter) are sitting around talking over her latest strange encounter with “Mr. Newman.” Then, Mr. Weissman busts in and yells “Run! They’re right behind me!” “Who?” they ask. “Men with guns!” Mr. Weissman yells. They storm out the back door. Then, we see the house at peace. A goldfish swims in it’s bowl. We see out the window at the beautiful day it is outside. A soldier crashes through that window. More soldiers bust through the front door. Dr. Morris enters, and barks the order: “FIND THEM!” Fade to black.

Actually, possibly spurned by this ending, my mind has lately been turned to what my favorite movie ending is. Now, I know what you’re thinking: movie ending? Wouldn’t the best movie ending be a case where the movie sucked, and you’re glad to be getting out of the theater? Not necessarily so. When you think about it, the end of a movie is your final impression of it. It is/should be the lasting imprint in your mind. As I stop to think about it, there are three movie endings that really stick out in my mind:

Back To The Future – I love the end of this film! Doc’s final line. (“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need…roads.”) The way the car levitates 10 feet into the air. The jets fire and it flies off into the horizon. The music swells. The car does a 180. It flies straight into the screen. There’s a brilliant flash of light, and things fade to black. Then, those words appear on screen: “To Be Continued….” I love it!

The Blues Brothers – This ending always makes me laugh. Our heroes, Jake and Elwood, standing in the County Commissioner’s Office. The clerk (cameo appearance by Steven Spielberg) stamps their receipt and hands it to them. It’s a close-up on their hands as they grab the receipt. Shortly after they grab it, a third hand appears and slaps the cuffs on them. The camera pulls back, and we see they are surrounded by an army of cops, sheriffs, National Guardsmen, and other law enforcement officials. The opening bars of Jailhouse Rock play. We cut to Jake and Elwood, in prison, and giving a concert.

The X-Files – Yes, the movie based on the hit TV show made my list. It just leaves you with a sense of direness that, despite their efforts, the heroes didn’t win. Also, in my opinion, this is the only movie I’ve ever seen where the song that’s played during the end credits perfectly captures the mood of the end of the film.

So, I just watched The Iron Giant for the zillionth time. I think I told you this, but Michael Kamen, who did the music for Iron Giant, is doing the music for X-Men. The more I listen to the music for Iron Giant, the more I think that maybe he won’t completely suck. So far, all he’s revealed about his X-score is that each character has his/her own theme, and Mystique’s theme is “erotic and cello-based.” Now, as much as I’d love a full-blown orchestral, “classic” score, I think it would be better if he just let loose and used the full musical spectrum to score this. I don’t know, I just have this vision that Wolverine’s theme should be fast, angry, and heavy metal based, kinda like the theme for Batman Beyond. I am so curious about how this score is going to turn out. I just hope I can enjoy it along Danny Elfman’s Batman and John William’s Superman.

Oh, one last thing. As I’m writing this, I’m watching the James Bond movie Moonraker. Remember when I said that the music in The Black Hole seemed to much like left over James Bond music? Well, you should see Moonraker! Everything in there is left over Black Hole stuff! Especially at the end, when Bond goes up to the villain’s space station. The sets, the uniforms, the special effects, even the music, could have just been lifted from The Black Hole. You told me once you haven’t seen any Roger Moore Bond films, but you should just check out this one.

Oh, well. That’s all for now!


Movie Review – Shaft


Directed by John Singleton

Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christian Bale, Jeffery Wright, Vanessa Williams, Toni Collette, and Richard Roundtree.

Another year older, another year wiser, and another traditional birthday movie. When it comes to the big-time action films of this summer, two were kind of sticking out: Gone In 60 Seconds, and Shaft. Shaft just seemed so much more…cool to me that I knew I had to see it. So, when asked what film to see on my birthday, I ran through the list of what’s been out the longest that I still want to see, and Shaft was at the top of the list. I had a hunch that even my Dad would like, being the kind of old-fashioned detective movie (i.e. Dirty Harry) that he grew up with.

Samuel L. Jackson plays Det. John Shaft, one of the finest on the NYPD. One wintry Christmas, he’s called out to investigate the murder of young black kid by a racist punk/spoiled white kid Walter Wade (Bale). Wade makes bail and skips the country for two long years, while Shaft waits for him to return. When Wade does return, Shaft promptly arrests him and hauls him downtown, where Wade meets up with Peoples Hernandez (Wright), a small-time drug dealer and another nemesis of Shaft’s. When Wade makes bail again, Shaft quits the force in disgust to go after Wade “his own way.” There is one way to bring in Wade once and for all: waitress Diane Palmieri (Collette) saw the whole thing, and only her testimony can put away Wade. But, she was frightened into submission and has been in hiding for the last two years. Wade, then, soon pays of Hernandez to silence Diane permanently, and the race is on between Shaft and Hernandez to find Diane. Of course, Shaft gets help from his former parner, Carmen Vasquez (Williams), and his uncle, the original Shaft (Roundtree).

This movie is…cool. Jackson, as Shaft, just oozes the kind of coolness required for a man to be on the lone pursuit of justice. We’ve got the right blend of typical action-hero one-liners and just plain attitude that makes a great action hero. And I feel that my plot summary does a dis-service to the villain of Hernandez. Hernandez is just so slimy and evil, that when Wade does deal with him, it’s essentially a deal with the devil. For most of the film, it is Hernandez who is the villain, and he’s so good at it. And the film is just so fast-moving! I hardly realized that the whole hour and 45 minutes had gone by! All in all, a very cool summer flick. (And if I say cool one more time, you can do ungodly things to me.)

3 Nibs

Movie Review – Titan A.E.

Titan A.E.

Directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman

Starring the voices of Matt Damon, Drew Barrymore, Bill Pullman, Nathan Lane, John Leguazamo, and Jeannine Garofalo.

I’m sure, that like myself, your first exposure to Titan A.E. came during Episode I. Titan A.E. was lucky enough to have it’s teaser attached to Episode I. When we heard Matt Damon’s voice talking about how man had conquered space, and then the animation of Earth being destoyed, we all scratched our heads and went “What the hell was that?” Well, here we are, a year later, and we get to find out.

It’s the dawn of the 31st Century. Earth has been destroyed by an alien race called the Drej, because the Drej determined that humans were on the verge of becoming a threat. The surviving humans now live in giant starships called drifter colonies, are treated like second class citizens of the galaxy, and being hunted by the Drej. We soon meet Cale (Damon). He’s a young, rebellious sort, working in a salvage yard and thinking that there’s not much more to life. But he soon meets a space pirate by the name of Korso (Pullman), who needs Cale. Seems that Cale’s father was in charge of the Titan project, something which could save the human race. Only Cale’s genetic code can read the map to where his father hid the Titan. So, Cale joins Korso’s crew: babealicious pilot Akima (Barrymore), slimy navigator Preed (Lane), nerdy engineer Gune (Leguizamo), and weapons expert Stith (Garofalo), who gets just a touch of the bloodlust in battle. With the Drej hot in pursuit, they go off to find the Titan! Can they do it? Or is there a betrayer in their midst?

This film is something I’ve wanted to see American animators attempt: a hard-core sci-fi. For the most part, it succeeds. There’s this scene on a planet with hydrogen trees, and bat-like aliens that could only be pulled off in a live-action film with a gazilion dollars. And, there’s this game of cat-and-mouse in a planet’s ice rings, which is just beautifully animated. And I must give kudos to Nathan Lane. He’s played a lot of “flamboyant” characters, and he surprised me here by convincingly voicing a slimeball. But…. I found that the characters seemed a little hollow. When the betrayer is revealed, it just kind of came out of left field. The Iron Giant has become the gold standard for which I rate animated films, and compared with that, Titan A.E. just left me wanting more. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but I so wanted it to be great. Oh, and I love that final joke.

2.5 Nibs

The Rejected Ad Campaigns

Chaos in Print

Every time I got a brilliant idea for a way to advertise my old college radio show, I’d jot down a little proposal to myself so I wouldn’t forget. Going through some old files on my hard drive, I happened to stumble across several of these old proposals. If you don’t mind, I’d like to share them with you as a testament to what might have been.

The “He’s Everywhere” Campaign
This campaign would have featured pictures of me at some of Augustana University College’s more famous landmarks: casually leaning against the statue of Martin Luther, sprawled out across the big brick entrance gate, dancing around in the Faith and Life center lounge, standing amongst that abstract sculpture out behind the theater building, and sitting on the steps of Old Main. Each poster would have featured the slogan “The Scarecrow. He’s everywhere,” plus all the typical vital stats for my show. I ultimately didn’t go with this campaign because, well, I couldn’t afford to produce that many color copies.

The “Not The Scarecrow” Campaign
This one was recommended by a friend of mine. What it would have consisted of was poster featuring various celebrities: Brad Pitt, Leonardo diCaprio, Pinhead from the Hellraiser films, and just plain anyone else I could think of. On each poster would be the slogan “Not the Scarecrow.” Then, it would be followed by “The only place to find the Scarecrow…” and all the vitals for my show. I ultimately didn’t go with this campaign because I just go lazy.

The Polka Dot Ribbon Campaign
When the annual purple ribbon campaign to generate awareness about violence against women started up on campus one year, I couldn’t help but be inspired to parody it. And so, I came up with the Polka Dot Ribbon Campaign to generate awareness of the Scarecrow. I’d sell all these polka dot ribbons to people, and they’d wear them. I ultimately didn’t go with this campaign because polka dot ribbon is incredibly hard to get a hold of.

Scarecrow Awareness Day
This evolved out of a protest that happened in the cafeteria one day that I just took offense to. So, I felt I had to spoof it. It would have taken place in the cafeteria one lunch hour, and feature people dressed all in black, looking completely Goth, walking around. Occasionally, one will sit down at a table and say something like “I am a child of darkness. I know no joy. I pass my pain and misery on to others.” Then, we find that their pain is little things, like they can never get socks to match, their dog ran away, their dog came back, they have this growth on their foot, stuff like that. Then, our hero, Scarecrow comes along and says something to the effect of “Stop, you villainous fiend! You will not suck the life out of this merry group of students!” and then our hero kind of drags off the child of darkness. Eventually, all children of darkness congregate at one table. They start speaking loudly, “We must stop the evil of laughter and merriment! Only then will we reign!” Then, Scarecrow proclaims “Not on my watch!” The Power Rangers theme begins blaring over loudspeakers. Cheesy fight ensues. The children of darkness flee the cafeteria in terror. Scarecrow takes the microphone and addresses the caf: “People of Augustana. There is only one true way to fend off the army of darkness. Listen to my show, Chaos in a Box with Me, Wednesdays at 10 on Augustana Interactive Radio.”

Of course, posters on the walls would have statistics to this effect:
“Did you know…Scarecrow has never seen any action?”
“Did you know…very few of Scarecrow’s listeners have ever seen any action?”
“Did you know…cartoon characters never see any action?”
“Did you know…it is very difficult for Ken to get any action with Barbie?”
“Did you know…in the Ninja Turtle comics, a turtle dated a fox. How did they get any action?”
“Did you know…all these facts have to do with getting action?”

I ultimately didn’t got with this campaign because, quite frankly, I was frightened off by the logistics of setting up something this huge.

Scarecrow’s Movie Night
This would have been one of the simplest to pull off, and yet I didn’t go for it. Once a week, for about a semester, I would reserve the big TV in the coffee house, and I would show a movie for all my potential and loyal listeners. The movie line-up would have consisted of: my favorite music and radio-themed movies, like Good Morning, Vietnam, That Thing You Do! And UHF. Then, there would have been music-themed movies I always wanted to see, like A Hard Day’s Night, starring the Beatles, and This Is Spinal Tap. And, when that is exhausted, will lean back on my favorites: Star Wars, Transformers: The Movie, and Independence Day. I ultimately didn’t go for this because, well, I don’t know. It would have been so easy to do.

And then, of course, if I had the money, I would have just gotten more prizes to give away: Video Update Gift Certificates, Wendy’s Gift Certificates, movie theater Gift Certificates, and all kinds of goodies like that. But now, it’ll never come to be. Who knows? Perhaps some young, enterprising CLCR DJ will read this and do what I could not.

A Certain Point Of View

Chaos in Print

In time, Luke, you will learn that the truths we cling to depend upon a certain point of view.
— Obi-Wan Kenobi

Way back when I was in the eighth grade, we were playing this game in school one day. A select few were chosen to be “murderers.” Then, all the lights would be turned out in the gym, and we’d all wander around. The murderers would kill someone by placing their hand upon a person’s shoulder. The person would then scream, and collapse on the ground. The lights come on, and then, based upon who was standing around “the body,” three people each got a guess as to who the murderer was. When uncovered, the murderer was out for the rest of the game. I was selected as a murderer. As I wandered through the gym, scanning for my first victim, I saw that one of my compatriots beat me to first blood. And I was precariously close to the body. The lights came on, and the guessing began. On the second guess, someone picked me. I blurted out “Yes, I’m a murderer, but I didn’t kill this man.” Exposed, I went to the corner where the “out” people go. My teacher soon came up to me and said “If you have a flaw, Mark, it’s that you’re too honest.” Since that time, I have prided myself on my honesty. And it disturbs me at how easily I can now lie.

An incident happened a few days ago. I was scheduled to work the evening shift, and didn’t have to go to work until 4pm. Around noon, I get a phone call. It’s my supervisor, and a real bitch if I may say so. (A brief moment to explain my situation. When the Boss has a day off, one of three supervisors take charge. As I said, this was the bitchy one.) She said that things had gotten unexpectedly busy today, and could I come into work sooner. I asked “How soon is sooner?” She said “now.” I replied that I could not go charging off to work now, because my mother was in the office and she took my car. Thus, I was without transportation. My supervisor grumbled something, and then hung up. Now what I said was true, to an extent. My mother did indeed have to go to her office that day, and she took my car. Well, it’s actually the family car, and since that’s her name on the registration, she can use it whenever she wants. So, I didn’t have a car.

But I did have a truck. Mom left me the family truck, and said that if I have to go anywhere, I should feel free to use it. Contrary to what I said, I did have transportation. So, was I justified in lying like I did?

As I already stated, I was scheduled to come into work that day at 4. Was it really so wrong to want a few more hours of me time? Besides, I had a similar incident with this supervisor a few days before. As soon as I entered the door to the store, she screamed out “MARK!! Don’t bother hanging up your coat! Get to work NOW!” So, I got to work NOW. The store was really jumping. For 5 minutes. After those 5 minutes, things were dead and I went to hang up my coat. So, since this was the same supervisor who just called, I convinced myself that the store had entered a 15-minute busy patch, and she was just panicking again. I had nothing to worry about, and I went back to lying on the couch, watching TV.

As the afternoon progressed, I continued deluding myself even more. I had in fact told the truth! I really was without a car. How could I get to work without a car? So, what I said was true, from a certain point of view. Yup, no car. Can’t go to work, got no car. But there was that little part of me deep down inside going “But you have the truck. So what if you want to have a life? You want to have money, don’t you? Student loans are coming. You want to pay them off, don’t you? And the only way to do that is to be married to your job. You should have gone to work. You’re letting the bitch down.” It was a little voice, but long-winded. Naturally, I was being thrown into my latest moral quandary.

John Lennon once said that life is what happened while you were making other plans. I don’t want to make other plans! I don’t want to say “Oh, that’s work calling. I’ve got to run off to the office. But I’ll be at your next ball game, Mark jr.” I don’t want to be one of these people married to his job. I want to have a life! I want to be free to experience things! I want to have a little fun before I die! And if that means withholding certain facts from work, then that should be perfectly OK. In our consumer based society, I’m making a stand! This is a political act! This is my way of throwing off the shackles of consumerism! I’m not my bank account! I’m not my fucking khakis! I’m not my job! I’m the slob on the couch watching TV! I’m a hero! I’m a role model! I should lie to my supervisor more often!

But there’s that voice again. “You used to be such on honest fellow, what happened to you? There was a time when you wouldn’t have thought twice about charging down to work. And what about that sense of loyalty you claim to have. You’re letting your co-workers down. Even if they are bitches. Perhaps they will not be so bitchy if you lead by example. Be kind to them. Demonstrate your loyalty by going to work early when they ask you. Even when it is your day off. The right thing to do is to toil in the fields. Like your sister pointed out one time, you’ll have lots of time to have a life. That’s what days off are for. Work is the only thing to do.”

And it kind of continued like that until Mom got home and it was time for me to go to work. I got to work, and it was rather busy. One of the bitchy cashiers was sure to say to me “Oh, so you finally decided to come to work.” God forbid that a cashier has to bag a few groceries. We can’t all be grannies killing time until CPP kicks in. But the problem remained. Turned out things were busy, and they really did need me. So, the moral quandary kicked in once again.

Was I justified in lying? Was it wrong of me to want a few extra hours of free time? What really did happen to that honest fellow I was in junior high? Did he just grow up? Or is it like what the ancient Greek mathematicians stated: “the ideal must be corrupted to fit the real world?” Perhaps honesty isn’t the best policy anymore, replaced with deal making and profiteering. Oh, if things could only be as clear-cut as they were in junior high. Things seemed so straightforward back then. But now, if I have to lie a little to keep a from going to work early, I’ll do it. Cuz hey, we don’t always want to be making other plans.