Monday, March 24, 2008

found films monday - 1 person chutes, 0 dead, 0 fed

turns out my found films seem like standard family fare. looks like an xmas spread and then a trip to a local slide park or something??? does anyone know what that is? ok lemme break this shit down, slide first

i dont understand this stuff. i grew up with HEAT, so when we went sliding, we went with water. this looks like an overgrown playground...someone pumped the local slide on steroids...only you have to go down on a protective mat and go you straight down and thats all that happens. wtf?

when was this cool? i bet you even have to WAIT IN LINE to go down a slide straight...on a protective mat...nowhere...jesus i hope nobody had to pay for this. going here instead of a local park sounds like going to the library and paying to check out the same book you were going to get anyway...only the book is 2 feet tall!!!

this ones even weirder to me. it starts off with this real eggheady guy who doesnt really look like hes in the christmas spirit of fun but instead real serious. like maybe hes trying really hard not to point out which box he wrapped for his know, the one with headgear in it. no dinosaur action figures or bb guns when love means orthodontistry. then again who knows. maybe this kid secretly collected daggers. that would be pretty badass. all i know is that hes the only thing happening, because next we pan to a table

thats it


tables are neat and all, and i love a good set table when family is about to TEAR THE SHIT out of some roast beast, but we got nothing to work with here. i cant even make fun of cranberry sauce shaped like the can

finally at the end, we pan over to some hotness, but we get about two seconds of the hot lady. the hell???

i dont know whats going on here. in my family, you bring the camera out because everyone youre related to is an idiot. you have to show andy almost set himself on fire when he grills the salmon and puts some oil on it OVER THE FLAME. you have to show ariel hoppin around when shes wearing a tiara, because shes young enough that shell hop up and down if you tell her to, but then the tiara bops off and bonks her on the nose. you gotta show tim because hell blow smoke into the camera. and you gotta show dave because hell try to wave the camera off when hes taking the last of the coffee and TOTALLY isnt making any more because hes THAT guy and always will BE THAT GUY.

wheres that? i wanna see that, and im not even in the damn family

its a nice table, and that lady definitely BRINGS IT, and im pretty sure that kid has his heart in the right place, but finding these videos and just seeing things like tables, or someones shed (i found this one i didnt even bother uploading because it was literally three minutes of a guy crabwalking around his fucking SHED and filming it in pure grainy SURROUND) is really making me want to give this up. i know most of these buys at garage sales are a couple bucks a pop, but i could get a CASSINGLE by "Cutting Crew" for the same amount and still have something i could listen to in my truck


L-Scott said...

Totally agree with this post.

I don't know what's up with family videos that are staged and prim and dignified. Family isn't dignified. Family is warfare with annual gifts. Family's "Fight Club" where the older people change the rules, the kids don't play by them, and once you hit middle age you get to play the referee and the glassjawed first rounder to everyone above and below you on the age bracket. Family's taking shit from and talking shit with people whose shit you cleaned up when they were kids or whose shit you're going to clean up when they're about to die.

Pretending that somehow all that shit peels away if you can just put down some red-and-black plaid placemats, a couple of candleholders and a centerpiece with some pinecones on it is such naive bullshit. I'm not going to lie: I love all those things. I love the pageantry of the holidays, of people who normally show up on the weekend get-togethers with two-day stubble instead showing up wearing a nice suit and a fresh haircut. I love the tree-trimming, the candles, the lights, the crudites, the appetizers, the mulled wine, the red wine, the white wine, the aperitifs - yes, the best part of the holidays is that it's the one time of the year that everyone gets slightly sozzled and doesn't start acting like a fucking Presbyterian about it. I love all that stuff, but pretending the gloss IS the fam is just silly. That's the unreality we layer over it to give a sense of occasion. The reality is the goofy, ugly, nasty, happy, needy shit that you can't paper over with a blue blazer and a wreath.

When you're on your deathbed and looking back on your life, you can imagine every Christmas you ever had by plugging in instant disposable props like trees and Advent CAlendars and nutcrackers, and they'll all be variations on the exact same thing. The location might change and the guest list might be different, but you could probably approximate all of them with a little cleverness. It wouldn't even have to be a true memory. It wouldn't even have to be real to seem authentic, because of course none of that shit is the reality to begin with.

But the same time you're looking back, you'll be able to remember individual Christmases down to perfect detail every time you remember the disasters. When the dog shit on the rug. When little Allen shit on the rug. When Jay got too lit on all those wines and interrupted his dad saying, "I don't know why the kids were so unhappy on this trip just because I made a couple of stops to run errands and drop by the office" to explain, "It's because you rob people of time to assert your dominance over them, and think that leverage is more important than not acting like an asshole." When Miriam broke her wrist falling off the lemon tree. When Dan cheap-shotted Phil with an elbow to the face in that two-on-two, and Phil actually punched him because Dan had been pulling that bullshit for two decades.

All that stuff will be more vivid than a fucking creche, and it will be more important, and it will be more special, and it will be those things that bring tears to your eyes. Because all the stuff that goes wrong is like the memory gateway to everything else. They're the things that make you remember how sweet that dog was with the kids, how VIVID blue Allen's eyes were even until his thirties, how Jay wept like a child when his father died, how Miriam was the happiest girl you ever saw, and how Phil took Dan and his kids to every home game at the World Series just because he couldn't think NOT to.

The stuff that makes you remember that - THAT'S the stuff that should be on the camera. That's the ONLY stuff that should ever be on the camera.

George F.K. said...

That was really sweet, LS. I like your post. I like EC's post. The videos might be a bit of a letdown, but I think the comments were really winning.

I don't really have much that I can add; anything, at this point, would just be a long-form way of saying, "Yes, me too." I just wanted to think of my great-uncle.

When I was young, I thought he and his wife were my grandparents. Not my mother's and father's parents: no, I knew those people were my grandparents and could identify them and their relationship to me with ease. I just didn't understand what, elementally, grandparents were. So my great-aunt and uncle were, to my mind, these sorts of auxiliary grandparents. And I thought that because they were:
a. Old. Like my grandparents.
b. Incredibly sweet to me.
c. Incredibly sweet to my parents.
They treated me and them exactly like grandparents would, so it stood to reason, at least in my childlike mind, that they must naturally be my gramma and grampa too. When I got older, I understood the difference, but when I got a little older than that, I understood that the difference didn't matter. One of my grandfathers died; his wife was not a nice lady. My great aunt and uncle were basically those grandparents to me. Anyone who wanted to correct me on that point could go to hell. I knew who I loved and how much.

My great aunt died about ten years ago. It came out of nowhere. It was a hard wake.

My favorite Christmas memory came from a few years later. My great uncle has smoked all his life. About fifty years, I'd suspect. He's pretended he doesn't smoke for at least thirty of them. He "quit" — I would guess he tried to; he's an earnest and sincere person, so I can't imagine he wouldn't at least give it a shot — to please his wife. When she died, there was no more reason to smoke clandestinely. He kept doing it anyway.

The thing is, we all knew. Everyone knew. It was one of those rights of passage: sooner or later, as a teenager, someone either told you he smoked or you caught him. Well, one Christmas at his house, for some reason I can't remember, we were all snickering because he'd left the table and because we all knew, without a doubt, Oh, he's going around to the side yard to sneak a smoke. Now, I have no idea what brought this on, but something like a dozen of us all wanted to watch him.

So picture this sweet, stooped old man, standing in his side yard, one hand over the gate to the front yard. Now, picture him peering over the gate, hoping that no one goes out into the front yard and walks over and catches him.

Now picture about a dozen people, standing twenty feet behind him, all peering around the corner of the house, watching him on the lookout. It was like a cartoon. There were three generations of us. Of all heights, with our heads arranged in tiers, peeking around the corner. I wouldn't be surprised if you showed me a picture and it turned out that there were twelve heads perfectly arrayed from one foot above ground to fifteen feet above ground, all impossibly stacked on top of the other, like a totem pole.

I'll always remember that. Here's this sweet man who, despite being prey to an addiction his whole life, was nevertheless subject to the far more powerful pull of still living his life by the wishes of his wife, even after her death. Here's, basically, my grampa-by-proxy, gazing out at the front lawn at the life he wouldn't let go of, while something like a third of his living family impishly watched him covertly. And even though we all sneaked back inside and shut the sliding glass door really quietly and then exploded in laughter, not because he was foolish or silly, but because he was himself, and because we couldn't love him any more for it.