For me, the best way to escape from reality is in the comfort of my bed gazing at the moving picture box on a tattered dresser in a dimly lit room or in a light starved auditorium filled with seats painted with chewed-up gum all focused on the magic unfolding on the canopy centered amongst the darkness. From the days I was learning to doggy paddle in the over chlorinated bath water of the local high school pool to my days as a perplexed and anxious high school senior to this moment, typing this blog in my dorm for the final semester of my path to bachelor status, movies indirectly explain my life.
I will never forget when the purpose for swimming changed for me when I first saw Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. The idea of a sleek, gray monster the size of a semi gliding through the blue beneath me made my skin crawl. I remember a volunteer, varsity swimmer guided me across the shallow end as my floaties cut off the circulation to my hands. Unlike many of my fellow tadpoles, my attention was not on the volunteer or my floaties but on my flippers that that trashed in an effort to fend off any razor-toothed attacker that may lurk out of my sight. It even put a damper on the annual family get-together on my dad’s side of the family. We would rent a set of grungy cabins along the murky Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, NY. Soaked in fear I could not set foot on the dock to hook some perch or even play in the sand on the beach area, anticipating this monster to grab hold of me and drag me to the depths of the lake. However, with time I realized that my new phobia of the water was ridiculous and that the magic of cinema had cast a spell on me.
A spell could also describe the sense of confusion I felt in high school. What was expected of me, both academically and socially? Again I turn to movies to relate, one that came out the summer before the start of my senior year of high school, Greg Mottola’s Superbad. My friends and I had different academic endeavors, so when we applied and were accepted to different schools, naturally we felt the void forming between friendships that had developed as far back as first grade in some cases. This combined with sexual tension with co-eds formulates a fear of romance that may never bloom without the addition of alcohol, never considering the social side-effects.
Currently my life can be described as a hard mix drink. It consists of shots of comedy, action, suspense, drama, and even crime. As my fingers bat on the keys of my out-of-date Gateway, I watch an encrypted, spinning disc send video and sound messages to my TV permitting me to experience John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard. McDonagh’s film has its own proportionate mix of the shots I mentioned. Its characters’ laughter was crossed with the drama of work or crime-related activities leading to actions that created suspenseful consequences; essentially the layout of a dark comedy.
In my opinion life is a dark comedy. Sometimes the most ominous of experiences or sensations can be looked back at as being humorous. The fear that consumed me from Jaws can be seen as childish dread for the unpredictable. The awkward torture of high school was nothing more than teen angst that I look back on with no regrets. There is no doubt that even ten years from now I will observe my feelings developed from The Guard under a microscope with a condescending grin.