One of the films I loved growing up was Back to the Future. I’ve owned the trilogy a few different times now, and have the current version on Blu-Ray. I believe I bought it that opening week when it came out. Yeah, I’m one of those kind of collectors. I like things fresh off the shelves like fruits and vegetables.
Well, a few years ago I was reading an interview with one of the creators. To be honest, I can’t remember if it was Robert Zemeckis or one or the producers or writers, but the speaker complained about the importance of greed in the film. If he had a chance to go back, he argued, he would have made it more about family as compared to the acquisition of possessions at the end.
In other words, Marty’s family didn’t have to be rich and successful and Marty didn’t need the sweet new truck. Just getting his family back together should have been enough.
Being a child of the 80’s, this idea kind of blew my mind. And between you and me, I feel like Marty had earned that truck… but now as a dad trying to imagine a better world for my kids, I side with that speaker. I would like my kids to see it that way. Marty won without the truck.
Yet, with 40 fast approaching, I seem to be finding comfort in some of my possessions. They help me turn off my brain, focus my thoughts. And, in a way, define my journey up to this point and where I would like to see myself go. Of course, being the blogger I am, I have written about most of these things before. So I will link to an original post and then give you an update on where I am now. Therapy? Partially. Helpful? Definitely. These are my sanity as I step slowly towards this halfway mark…
Star Trek: The Next Generation. Right now, when my house is finally quiet and everyone else is dreaming, I have the hardest time falling asleep. It is then in the dark and quiet that the voices in my head are the loudest. I think about blog posts, writing, books, time, life, everything under the sun. And if I get an idea I like for writing or blogging, you can kiss me falling asleep in the next few hours away. Usually then I am grabbing my phone, and using the Notes app to outline my idea and plan.
So to fight this I have been turning to the Enterprise. Yes, that good starship on Netflix has put me to sleep for quite a few nights now. And there have already been many mornings where I have woken up with one earbud still in and my phone’s alarm shaking me awake.
Doctor Who. My wife and I did finish our summer Doctor Who marathon and we wait like the rest of the world for the 50th anniversary movie, and everything else. So what do I do as wait?
I wear bow ties.
I started with one, basically because I wanted to see what it was like, inspired by Matt Smith’s performance as the Doctor. Now I have three and I wear them during most of my weekdays. I find them strangely empowering. Like I could take on the world… or the universe.
Jack Benny. For the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandparents. My grandmother died five years, which is one of those landmarks you remember but don’t like to think about. My kids share their middle names with them, so they are always around, part of the family landscape.
I can’t seem to get enough of old swing music and jazz and old radio episodes of Jack Benny. I listen to them usually when I am walking my dog in the evening. Silly, very corny, but strangely comforting.
Kurt Vonnegut once argued that if you think of time as its own dimension no one is really dead, they are just alive in a different time. I love that idea. Maybe a part of me imagines younger versions of my grandparents sitting around and laughing at them at the same “time”? Possibly. It would be nice to think there is a connection there.
J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien is one of those authors I return to from time to time in my life. Sometimes catching something new I didn’t notice, usually just finding comfort in returning to a land I love and old friends.
Yes, some didn’t like the first Hobbit film, but I was not one of them. I enjoyed it and was exactly what I expected. Why would I expect anything different? I saw The Lord of the Rings trilogy and read the book. It is The Hobbit made by Peter Jackson. Great!
The item on the top of my birthday list is the expanded edition of The Hobbit. Returning to Middle-Earth and seeing Hobbiton again sounds like a gift just by itself. I want to live there, and even though I don’t have hairy feet or like beer, I think I would be fine walking through its fields. Oh, and did I mention my iPhone case is the sign for The Green Dragon?
Walt Disney and Disneyland. One of the big things I am planning around my household is a trip next year to Disneyland, a place I always like to imagine as another home. And we are going into this fully since it will be my kids’ first trip. Yup, we are staying in the classic old hotel for five days.
I imagine days going on rides with my kids, evenings spent walking the streets, and watching fireworks from my hotel room with my wife. So to prepare for the big trip, I’ve been listening to my Disneyland soundtracks with my kids. Hopefully, hearing some of the rides, might add to the excitement and fight the possible fear of the Haunted Mansion and rollercoasters. There is an odd comfort in hearing “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” If I could be a ghost I would be there too.
Sherlock Holmes. Sometimes things feel like a lot, especially with kids and this birthday mark approaching. There is always something to do around the house, something to write. Sitting down is not a point of relaxation, it is a short break before the next thing to fix, and I remember fondly those afternoons and mornings I used to love lost in a good book with a bag of pretzels and a soda nearby. So I think of Sherlock Holmes, being particularly drawn to the old Basil Rathbone films. All they had to do was hang out, write, and have adventures. Who wouldn’t want an escape like that?
And to bring this full circle, no wonder Data and Geordi on Next Generation would escape to the Holodeck to play Sherlock. I would have done the same for an afternoon… It is oddly comforting to think I have something in common with them based on that wish.
Beam me up.
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Hi Scott – Love the post. I’m 6 months from 40 and now I can also see the merit in Marty simply restoring his family. But ten years ago, heck yes, he deserved that sweet truck! And if I could have one possession, it would be a Holodeck. 🙂
If I had a holodeck I would never leave it. It would turn into that weird movie Synecdoche, New York where in time I wouldn’t know what is reality and what is fiction.
Yeah, it would be dangerous for me.
I love that you wear bow ties! I imagine mastering the fold on one of those would be super-empowering! 🙂
The trick is to learn how to do it without looking in the mirror. Seriously, it will play with your vision if you try to do it with a reflection. It is one of the reasons it took me so long to master it. Now it usually only takes me a minute to put one together.
Bow ties are cool.
I was never much for shiny new toys so the big truck at the end was not my thing. Now if it had been an old souped up charger, that might have been different. Milestones – Having already reached the big 40 a few years ago, I can honestly say It’s just another year in your life. It’s what you do with the time that is important. Learning, memories, all things that can be shared with those we love.
I’m sure that is how I feel once I get over that “hill.” I’m still struggling up the side of it first. LOL.
I agree with Kurt Vonnegut, we are never really far from what we’ve lost…we have memories, stories, smells, objects, and cultural elements that bring us to a time and place. All things in space are just inventions of the mind with elements of real(I.e. People). I love following this change. I don’t think you’re the only one who goes through this. A few yrs ago I dated a guy approaching forty. Possessions and identity were very much his obsession. The song Blue pastures from James was the best fit for him. And he’d stay up most of the night reminiscing about the age of punk and anarchism. We never let go of who we are and what we have defines who we are. Right now I have a ton of books in my room that focus on social theory, a computer, and ani difranco and depeche mode albums that could last me through the apocalypse if there were no radios or music. I’d hardly be bored! What we have is who we are. An besides Star Trek next generation is the best. And don’t even get me started on Tolkien or Back to the Future. But seriously, no Army of Darkness? And music (besides Disney). Can anyone say Supertramp, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, Jackson Brown… You know those classics! I own them too ( well most anyway), we collectors need to collect. It’s how we preserve the past.
To be honest, never got into the Army of Darkness or those Sam Raimi films. They always feel like he is trying to hard. I think the only one of his movies I actually enjoyed was Spider-Man 2.
Never got into Jackson Brown, to be honest most of my music collection is “moody” alternative artists from the 90’s (Elliott Smith, for example) and jazz, especially the classics from the Be-bop age. Right now digging the new Polyphonic Spree.
Thanks for writing! Live long and prosper.
I find myself enjoying this entry because I am a fan of these topics and enjoy referencing them. They make me think back to all the things I’ve pulled and edited from my inspirations, and adapted them to my own writing.
When i’m sitting on the couch, unable to sleep, it’s comforting to know other people are doing the same thing, somewhere else (lets pretend time zones don’t exist). What did people do before television was invented for middle-of-the-night antics?
I usually go for the British comedy show “The Might Boosh” because of it’s subtle humor that blossoms into over-the-top hilarity at 4:23 am. It’s not on Netflix, but if you have a chance to buy a season or two cheaply, i’d recommend you do so.
I’ll check it out sometime. Thanks for the recommendation.
So what are the chances now all your kids are going to give you new bow ties for Christmas?
If I am lucky. They aren’t so easy to find. Just this weekend I was disappointed that they didn’t have them at the Art Institute in Chicago. They had normal ties, just not bow ties. Can’t you just imagine how cool those would have been???
I too find solace in tv on Netflix, especially Star Trek. There is something about the characters from both the original series and the next generation that offer a great escape from reality. For some reason life makes more sense in the language of science fiction. I have this dream of being the next Gene Rodenbury or JJ Abraham’s. I figure if I set my goals high enough, even when I miss them I will still have achieved something. I use this as my excuse when I spend hours at a time watching James Kirk take on the universe. I Figure it’s research. For I can never hope to achieve my greatness unless I have seen very episode from the first two Star Trek series, a goal that I am still far from achieving. There is still so much I have to take in before I feel like I can start producing myself. I wonder how you overcame this in your own life as a writer, or if you have.
The trick for me and Star Trek was getting Netflix on my iPhone. I think I see about two episodes a day. One while falling asleep, the other while making lunches for the kids or dinner or just waiting for my kids to fall asleep. I can’t imagine like without my iPhone anymore, sad to say.