Most people say college is the greatest four years of your life. And for the most part it was. However, intermixed with the greatness of those four years were some of the most uncomfortable and utterly awful experiences I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. What I am about to tell you is at the top of the list. And all I did was go to the movies.
The year is ought four and spring is in the air in most of the country. However, in upstate New York it's cold as a nun's tit. (My theory is that the Native Americans couldn't wait to get out of that god awful climate and they weren't all that broken up when the English, er…nicely asked them to leave. Sometimes, they did get the best of the white man.) Anyway, the second semester of my college career was off to an auspicious beginning with a few sightings of naked broads in my room and a few sightings of me sitting in the back of a cop car. It was actually Easter weekend and many of my fellow freshmen were home for the weekend. I was idly sitting in my room wondering which upperclassman I could bother to buy me my weekly dose of Keystone Light when suddenly I received an instant message.
This message was from a, we'll say, "lady friend" of mine whom I had not spoken to since early January. After the initial pleasantries she asked me if I wanted to see a movie that evening. I couldn't see the harm in it so I agreed to be over at her place in half an hour. That was one of the most emasculating things about freshman and sophomore year, getting driven around by broads. Just awful. "Hey…wanna give me a ride?" I felt like I was in 8th grade asking my mom to drive me to the fucking mall.
My ladyfriend, Meredith, was what some people refer to as a "first round draft pick." In the NBA when they talk about a prospect they need to have all the tools to be drafted that high. This broad had all the tools and I don't mean physically. Sure, she was gorgeous but that didn't tell half the story. She was funny. Broads, to me, are never funny, and she was funny. She could bust your balls one minute and make you roll over and play dead the next. She respected herself, but at the same time epitomized sex appeal. And she didn't like drama any more than I did. Most girls talk that talk but they loves the drama all the same—she didn't. Not too many walking around like her. Naturally, we kinda drifted apart after three nights together. I think her dorm was too far away or something I really can't remember. The moral of the story was, as always, I'm a jackass.
I thought about knocking on her door, but just opening the door with a booming "hey there" and a smile was the meuschy thing to do. And I'm nothing if not a meusch. I was greeted with a smile, hug, and a pair of boobs in my ribs. (She's 5'5 in two-inch heels.)
"So you ready?" she asked.
"Ah, yup," I replied, "all set."
"Alright. Let's go down and wait for my parents."
"Shut the fuck up," I deadpanned.
"Didn't I mention that?"
"No I don't think you mentioned it," I chirped in a falsetto tone of disbelief.
"Well, yeah," she said, "they want to meet you."
What the crap had I signed up for? With the parents? We'd hooked up maybe three times. My parents didn't even know this girl existed, much less did they want to meet her.
I stood there cycling through a Rolodex of emotions shock, anger, resentment, pure hatred, horny (she did look very nice), terror and then all over again. This was a dream. Nay! A nightmare! A nightmare of the worst sort. I wasn't being eaten by a vampire, lion or Tony Robbins, no. I was being trapped into the most awkward evening of my entire life.
"Fuck you, Meredith," I said with a pointed finger, "Fuck you and your devil ways!"
"Alex, come on. It'll be fine."
I had to be dragged outside to the parking lot. I was too shocked to be pissed. I just couldn't find the words to express my anger. Naturally, I changed the subject.
"So, uh what movie are we seeing?" I ventured.
"Oh my parents really want to see The Passion of the Christ." Well, this just turned into a regular fucking clam bake at the cement pond hasn't it? Maybe I can cleverly convince them to see something else. I just took a reasoning class. I got an A-. I can talk them down. This doesn't have to happen. This cannot fucking happen.
Meredith's parents rolled up in a red minivan, how cute. Mom rumbles out looking exactly like a mother in her 50's should look. She never quite lost the baby lumps but maintained an appearance that said "I used to be quite the babe."
Father had an ocean of baldness on top of his head surrounded by islands of hair. He had a mustache (I'm almost positive it was based on that fat guy from NYPD Blue that always plays the bad cop in negotiations). Put the two of them in pews every Sunday and I can't tell the difference between them or anybody else. Only they joined forces 19 years ago to make a smoking hot daughter. Her mom greeted me with a hug. (Kind of weird?) What did she tell her mom about me that leads to a hug? This just keeps getting deeper. It's like R. Kelly's legendary 12-part saga "Trapped in the Closet." The father, without saying a word, sticks his hand out and grips me up like he's trying to twist my hand off my arm. It was a firm shake that said, "I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure you've seen my daughter naked." The responding shake I gave him said, "Wouldn't you like to know?" Apparently, I had learned to converse through handshakes. Who says you don't learn anything in college?
The ride to the theater pushed my general mood from astonished disbelief to pure horror. In yet another episode of "The things Meredith did NOT mention to me," her parents are devout Christians or the most peculiar kind. They didn't have bumper stickers or anything but what I got was that they really were really looking forward to this flick. I heard the phrases "God's plan for us" and "God's will" three times in the span of five minutes. Obviously, a comfortable evening was off to an extremely comfortable, not-at-all-awkward beginning. Thank god the theater was close by.
I'd like to take this opportunity to mention that this broad's father has no idea—NO IDEA—how to park a car. Why would the man not even take a loop around to see if there was an open space just within sight of the mall? He opted to park at least 10 spaces from the nearest car and about three miles from the mall. Nothing chaps my ass like a guy who can't park properly. Just make an effort to find the dream space. Come on guy, humor me. (That's right—it chapped my ass.)
At this point, I'm not making any effort to pay to see this flick. If I was getting roped into this ridiculous exercise in masochism, someone else was going to fit the fucking bill. There was quite a line to see the movie and waiting in it gave our party an opportunity to play 20 questions about my life. Things began with mother.
"So what are you interested in, Alex?" she asked.
"Oh, I like writing and I like sports," I responded, "I like writing about sports." Every time I said that I felt like I was telling the ending of a bad joke.
"So why aren't you a journalism major?" father half-barked.
"I don't want to be a journalist. I like making things up," I said, "I write more satirical kind of stuff." I turned to Meredith and furrowed my brow to convey my displeasure with the conversation and request that she hop the fuck in and help me out. My brow is pretty talented.
"Uh…Alex…also reads a lot of books," Meredith offered. Books. I read books. Gee whiz gang, that sure is swell!
Her parents gave a nice nod and smile as if to say, "We also read books, we just don't bring them awkwardly up in conversation." I couldn't even tell if this was actually happening at this point. I started to ask myself bizarre questions. Is this for real? Are these really her parents? Do people really do these things to each other? To complete strangers? Am I even alive right now?
Once the line began to move and people filed into the theater I thought about the seating arrangement. Was I supposed to sit next to Meredith? Was I even allowed to sit next to Meredith? She was right in front of me in line; I don't know her mother and her father clearly does not care for me. Why shouldn't I sit next to her? Her mom files in. Followed by Meredith. Followed by a sick-ass swim move from Father shoving me aside and creeping in right behind his daughter. Stunning. Simply stunning. There it was—I was sitting next to Father.
Right as the lights go down the mom leans over in the direction of the men.
"I came prepared," she loudly whispered as she pulled out a regulation size box of tissues. Not travel size, a box of them.
Well, anybody who has seen this flick knows that the first five minutes were the only part in which the Lord is not getting his ass Rodney Kinged all over ancient Israel. Once the savage beating commenced Mom started crying and I instantly understood why the box was necessary. The sad part about the whole scene was that she was not alone in her tears by any stretch of the imagination.
At about the hour mark as the savior was being dragged off for a powwow with King Herod I began to come to grips with what a piece of shit this movie was. It wasn't moving. It wasn't powerful. It wasn't even entertaining. It was just so full of itself. It was as if Mel Gibson decided he wanted everybody to know that he was a serious director and long ago the Jews used to beat the crap out of Jesus. Mel, we got it. As I was mentally thinking of ways to explain how awful this movie was to my friends, I turned to my left and saw Meredith had joined her mother in tearing through the BOX of tissues. Was she religious also? Because from what I remember about her I would suspect not. How are people so moved by an actor getting flogged, kicked, spat on, punched and generally brutalized. Sure, it really was too bad this happened to our Lord; but we already knew that. We all read the book. We know what happens. As abysmal as this may seem, we all know the dude comes back. He gets better! I wanted to stand up and yell in the theater. "He comes back!" But I knew Riggs wasn't interested in making "The Passion: Part Deux"; so what's the point? I liked the old Mel Gibson that had funny quips about killing people and busted Danny Glover's chops as they chased down the bad guys in a classic tale of "A WHITE GUY AND A BLACK GUY…..ON THE SAME TEAM! FIGHTING CRIME! IT'S THE FUCKING 1980'S!"
Finally, this flick ends with Jesus dying (a surprise ending). The screen was black for a couple seconds so everyone in the audience had sufficient opportunity to feel guilty for not being a better Christian or for simply being a Jew. Then, credits. Nobody moved. Nobody spoke. We were a good 30 seconds into the credits before the first brave souls began to wander out. I decided that I was going to have to be the instigator in terms of standing up and leaving. Luckily, my lead was followed and everybody left behind me.
We walked out of the theater. Silence.
We walked through the lobby. Silence.
We walked the first mile to the car. Silence.
We walked the second mile to the car. Silence.
We walked the third mile to the car. Silence.
"So…who's hungry?" All this excitement had me jonesin for a taco.
"Uh…I don't know. Where do you want to go? What's good?" her mother politely asked.
Meredith looked at me as if I cared where we would break down the sociological importance of this movie. The coldness of my stare conveyed that I could give a shit.
"Uh, Applebee's is right there," she said.
"Sounds good," her father replied.
We rolled into up to America's "Neighborhood" Restaurant and were greeted by a walking caricature of what bothers me about high school kids. The kid was so certain that the only way he could seem cool was to slump his shoulders and mumble out the side of his mouth. I think if a supermodel walked in, took off all of her clothes and said "Have your way with me" the guy would have shrugged and mumbled "Smoking or non?" Naturally, he was in charge of hosting.
Slumpy McSadclown promptly seated us at a nice table. The problem with the table was that it was three feet from a perfectly clean and empty booth. How in the crap can Pa not just ask for the damn booth? Who doesn't want to eat on a couch? The guy couldn't park a car, he couldn't get himself a table in a restaurant—what was he good for? Just didn't understand the man. Fuck him. Just for that, I got appetizers. Mozzarella sticks, bttch.
As we ordered our meals, it became apparent to me that these people loved this movie. If they didn't love it, they were certainly deeply moved by it.
"I thought it was just so touching," her mom said.
"It really makes you reflect on your own life," her father agreed.
"Yeah…it was really something," I said.
I tried to bite my tongue because I knew I would end up saying something horribly offensive. So, I tried to avoid giving my opinion of the flick for as long as possible until Father discovered my clever rouse and called me out.
"So, Alex, what'd you think of the movie?"
I shifted in my chair and leaned in as if to imply that I really meant what I was about to say. How can I tell this guy how stupid and wasteful the last three hours of my life had been? Should I finally tell him I've seen his daughter naked? Would that make this night any worse? Could this night even get any worse? I thought about it for a few moments.
"Eh…I thought Braveheart was better."