Monday, April 11, 2011

color me stupid

It should come as no surprise to you bloggies that I, on occasion, say or do some really not-so-intelligent things.

(If you really need proof, feel free to read about my shenanigan's here, here and here. And trust me, this is a very small sampling.)

It might, however, surprise you to find out that I've been having these issues my entire life. I don't know if I have a lack of ability to think things completely through before I say/do them, or if I'm just destined to make people laugh through my ridiculousness.  Either way, you benefit.

For example:

I grew up in a relatively strict household. No, my parents didn't chain me to the basement and make me wear a chastity belt, but they did keep a pretty tight eye on me and my siblings.

One area they pulled the reigns back was for movies. I rarely got to watch anything above a PG rating as a kid. On the rare instance that I watched a PG-13 or God forbid, R movie, my mom would chew her fingernails, anxiously awaiting the naughty parts. When the kissing turned to petting or an f-bomb was just arround the corner, she would jump off the couch like a crazy person and fast forward the scene to secure my innocence.

But every now and again, my mom would love a movie so much that she gave up her worries for my well-being and allowed me to watch a film well beyond the PG level. With her, of course. "Dirty Dancing" was one of those movies, and I got to watch it when I was 11.

From the first moment I watched it, I was hoooked. I couldn't get enough of it. The story of Johnny and Baby and the drama of wondering if they would get together and would that dude from Law and Order ever like Johnny and see that he was a good man? It sometimes kept me up at nights.


The summer after I saw that movie for the first time, we went on a family vacation. I don't remember where and it doesn't matter. All that does matter is I was away from my VCR for two weeks solid. No Johnny. No Baby. No "I carried a watermelon?" to laugh at. No scenes where I was thisclose to seeing Patrick Swayze's man parts.

When we finally arrived home from the vacation, the first thing I wanted to do was watch the movie. Knowing my Dad's answer would be flat out "no", I went to Mom first. I found her in the kitchen, dutifully putting away all the food from our coolers into the refrigerator.

"Mom?" I asked, kicking at a bug on the floor. "I've finished un-packing my bags and sorting the clothes into the color piles like you asked me to. Could I please watch a movie?"

Mom glared at me as she rose up from the fridge. "Kim, it is 95 degrees in this house right now, we have tons of crap to put away from the trip, and I haven't slept well in three days. No, you can't watch a movie."

I sighed, but was not deterred. I knew if I could make enough racket or possibly even cause a small disaster, I had a shot at changing her mind. The plotting began.

"Okay, well, I'll just help you put this food away then."

"That would be great," she replied, wiping a drip of sweat from her forehead. "Hand me the pickles, Velveeta and the Coke's from that cooler by the front door, over there."

This was my opportunity. I grabbed the requested items quickly and *possibly* on purpose, dropped one of the Coke's on the floor. It didn't break open, but a small hissss of sticky, wet foam began to pool on the tile floor.

"God bless America!" she screamed. Blessing America was a sure sign she was about to lose her mind. "Kim, you have to be careful!" She grabed a dish towel and began to soak up the brown liquid.

I waited. She looked up at me, my hands still full with three Coke cans and the Velveeta cube.

"Honey, I just don't understand why you can't - just - never mind." She motioned to the living room, exasperated. "Go get your brother and you two watch a movie. I just don't care."

Mission accomplished. I beamed.

Walking over to the VCR storage, I opened the green notebook that spelled out which movie was recorded on which of our 149 tapes. 

Princess Bride, tape 41. Charlie Brown Christmas, tape 13. Music man, tape 22. Ah, there it was. Dirty Dancing, tape 27.

But tape 27 was not in it's place. It was gone. I ran through the house, checking all the VCR's in the house. Tape 27 was nowhere to be found. I knew going back and asking Mom for help was more dangerous than playing jump rope with a viper. I would have to ask Dad.

Unfortunately, Dad was now in the kitchen helping Mom. I'd have to play this carefully, with patience and skill. I eased into the kitchen and spoke sofly.

"Dad? Um, Mom said I could watch a movie, and the one I want isn't in its slot."

Dad licked excess mayonnaise from his fingers as he prepared a sandwich. "Find another movie, then." Ugh...the one answer I didn't want to hear.

"Yeah, I would," I replied. "But I really want to watch this one movie I haven't seen in like, forever. It's on tape 27, and I can't find it anywhere. So..."

Turning away from his sandwich, Dad eyed me curiously. "Well what movie is it?"


"Uh, it's that movie where the girl dances at the summer camp?" I felt my mother's back stiffen at my description. Dad's eyebrows raised.

"What?" He leaned agains the counter, incredulous. "Since when have you seen "Dirty Dancing", young lady? Diana, did you hear what your daughter wants to watch?"

My mother forced a smile and laughed lightly. "Yes, I heard." She waved her hand nonchalantly. "I let her watch it a few weeks ago while I was folding clothes. She didn't see the really bad parts." Dad just stared.

Uh oh. This was not in the plan. Now my parents were involved in some sort of weird parental Mexican standoff that went way deeper than I understood.

"I see," Dad replied, turning back to his sandwich as he contemplated what to do. It was an impossible position for him to be in. Mom had already let me watch the movie(and amazingly I hadn't burst into flame), so he couldn't say no due to content. At the same time, he clearly didn't want me to see it again, what with all that evil bumping and grinding and abortion business. So he did what my parents always did. He gave me the absolute stupidest excuse ever conceived.

"Honey," he said. "It was a long trip we just went on. That movie is just too heavy of material to watch after a vacation, okay? Why don't you watch "Swiss Family Robinson" instead?"

Mom nodded quickly in agreement, as though Dad had just discovered a cure for herpes.

"DAD! I don't WANT to watch  that," I moaned, stomping my foot. "I want to watch "Dirty Dancing"! I promise not to watch the bad parts, I know where they are and I'll tell you when they come on so you can fast forward!"

(I left out the fact that I knew when the dirty parts were because I had watched the movie several times secretly with my sister when my parents weren't home.)

This response seemed to only solidify my father's decision.

"No, Kim. No." He had made up his mind. "I can't believe you have even seen that movie once," I felt him glance at my mom. "In fact," he paused. "Yes, I don't think you need to watch that movie again until you're a little older. Like 14."

Oh. My. God. I was going to explode.

"That's THREE YEARS AWAY!" I screamed, fighting back tears. How could I wait three years to see Johnny dance on the log again? It was too painful to imagine. But rather than feeling sorry for me, my Dad began to get angry. His face turned red.

"I cannot believe we're even having this conversation!" he boomed, his voice echoing in the kitchen. "That movie is way too mature for you. Mom should not have let you watch it, and I'm sorry she did, but you're not watching it again right now."

Tension filled the kitchen and I flinched as Mom started throwing tupperware into cabinets,slamming them shut and re-opening them again. She was no doubt thinking up a good defense for her and Dad's private conversation later.

"But Dad!" I pulled on his shorts in despearation. "I can't wait until I'm 14! That's three years away. By the time I'm 14, the movie will have changed to black and white!"

Suddenly all movement stopped. Dad's knife hung suspended above his sandwich. Mom froze loading a plate into the dishwasher. Had I gotten through to them? Did they finally understand the brevity of this situation? 

"What did you say?" Dad asked, a grin creeping acros his face. This was my moment to bring it home.

"In three years," I held up three fingers for effect. "I won't be able to enjoy the movie as much as I can now, becaue by the time I'm fourteen, the movie will have gone to black and white like the movies you watched when you were a kid. There's NO way the movie will be as good in black and white, Dad! So... can I watch it now?"

Mom laughed first. Just a chuckle, maybe even a snort. But that's all it took. Suddenly the kitchen was filled with laughter. Hard, uncontrollable laughter. Dad was lucky he didn't stab himself in the stomach with his knife.

I was so confused. What was so amusing?

"Oh honey," my mother began. "Movies don't change to black and white. They can add or take color away whenever they want, to any movie. Are you serious? You don't you know that?"

I started to answer but couldn't hear my own voice over the roaring laughter. I suppose I should have been glad that my parents were clearly no longer mad at one another. Mostly because they were busy wondering what part of my brain was missing.

Defeated, I shuffled out of the kitchen into the living room and turned on "Swiss Family Robinson." To this day, I still despise that movie. Color or not.

And to this day, I swear my children will be able to watch "Dirty Dancing" whenever they want. So there.