Thanks for the mem­o­ries

It’s just that some­times, they’re hard to ac­tu­ally re­mem­ber

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE - Gary Smith Gary Smith is a re­cov­er­ing jour­nal­ist liv­ing in Rogers.

Re­mem­ber that movie? You know, the one with the guy who looks like the guy who was in that TV show with the Bri­tish girl ex­cept she didn’t talk with a Bri­tish ac­cent? They were get­ting chased by that guy who was in the movie where he plays a lawyer who turns out to be a hit man or some­thing, maybe a spy? We saw it on Net­flix. Or maybe On De­mand. You know, that one …”

No, ob­vi­ously, I don’t ei­ther. But that’s not go­ing to keep me from guess­ing wildly, get­ting frus­trated be­cause you can’t turn that word salad into a box of movie pop­corn, or fi­nally star­ing off into space, blurt­ing out vague movie-ti­tle-sound­ing phrases for the next two hours.

“To Catch a Thief?” “It Takes a Thief?” “My Mother the Thief?” “Game of Thieves?”

I re­mem­ber things. Odd things. Things that have no mean­ing to any­one else in the world. Dis­con­nected things I pick up like burrs on your hik­ing socks (which, by the way, in­spired Vel­cro. See, I can’t help my­self.).

And yet, there are mo­ments when a brain runs dry, even one that stores use­less in­for­ma­tion like rain bar­rels (which used to be il­le­gal in Colorado: Un­til re­cently, you could legally smoke pot but not cap­ture rain off the roof of your house. I don’t make’em up, I just re­mem­ber’em). And it’s a ter­ri­ble thing to wit­ness. At least from my end.

It hap­pened to me the other day. Asked about a movie ti­tle, I drew a blank (a saying that comes from the 1800s when ac­quir­ing a lot­tery ticket that wasn’t a win­ner was re­ferred to as “draw­ing a blank).

Clues in­cluded that the movie was about a teacher and started with “Con”-some­thing. And it went down­hill from there.

Hav­ing trou­ble re­mem­ber­ing a movie ti­tle takes one of two forms: Ei­ther you re­mem­ber plot de­tails (“this guy get­ting chased by an air­plane”) or you re­mem­ber all the ac­tors (“Humphrey Bog­art, Peter Usti­nov and Aldo Ray. And the snake, but you never re­ally see the snake.”), but you can’t … quite … re­mem­ber … the … name.

It quickly turns the movie ti­tle into the re­v­erse of a song you can’t get out of your head. As in, the film you can’t get back in.

For most people, this is not that frus­trat­ing. Nor­mal people who don’t re­ally dwell on the fact that “El Do­rado,” and “Rio Bravo” are ac­tu­ally the same movie, with Robert Mitchum play­ing the drunk sher­iff in “El Do­rado,” Dean Martin play­ing him in “Rio Bravo” and John Wayne ba­si­cally play­ing him­self in both. Or that that ex­act con­ver­sa­tion was held in “Get Shorty.”

But when some­thing as triv­ial as a movie name slips the mind of some­one who has spent a life­time ac­quir­ing point­less trivia (need­less re­dun­dancy alert), well, you feel like Wild Bill Hickok sit­ting with your back to the room (hold­ing “the dead man’s hand,” black eights and Aces.).

Most people wouldn’t dwell on some­thing like that for days. They wouldn’t wan­der around, mut­ter­ing vaguely and throw­ing off movie ti­tles. They’d just fire up Google and be done with it.

And that, to some­one of a triv­ial per­sua­sion, would swing wildly be­tween cheat­ing and an ex­is­ten­tial cri­sis. Bet­ter to un­dergo hyp­no­tism in hopes of cap­tur­ing re­pressed movie ti­tles than ad­mit you know that Jon Voight starred in the film, but you don’t know what it’s called.

It is amaz­ing what we de­cide is im­por­tant, worth pre­serv­ing, re­mem­ber­ing and fret­ting over for­get­ting. But then, given the world in which we live, per­haps when given a choice be­tween wor­ry­ing about a nu­clear North Korea and some film ti­tle, and re­al­iz­ing I can’t do much about the for­mer, I’ll take stew­ing over the lat­ter.

And then, just like that … the movie was called “Con­rack.” It’s from the book “The River Is Wide,” by Pat Con­roy, who also wrote “The Great San­tini,” “The Lords of Dis­ci­pline” and “The Prince of Tides.” Why they didn’t just call the movie “The River is Wide” I don’t know, par­tic­u­larly since the book was remade into a TV movie called, well, “The River Is Wide” a few years later.

Sud­denly, the North Kore­ans may have nukes, but all is right with the world. And I can once again rest easy, know­ing I know what I think I know.

Ex­cept … about that movie with the snake … P.S. The movie with the snake was “We’re No An­gels.” The snake’s name was Adolphe. Don’t even try me.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.