Every once in a great while, a person makes a rash decision while perusing the aisles at the video store. Last Saturday, I was that person.
The purpose of the trip was merely to return several films that I had rented Christmas Day. My wonderful girlfriend, Jamie, was out of town, spending the holiday with her family in Presque Isle, Maine. Alert readers already know that there are usually two reasons I avoid traveling to Maine: 1.) spending many (12) hours in an automobile and 2.) weight gain.
This year, however, I opted out because I wanted to celebrate the season with my family. Christmas at my folks' house revolves around several key themes:
•Waiting for my sister, Kat, to arrive.
•Listening to my sister's orders as she hands out gifts to open.
•Awaiting further instruction from my sister.
Not that my sister is a dictator or anything - she just happens to be in her element on days of celebration (i.e. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, birthdays, etc.). Nobody ever opens two gifts in a row, and if someone opens a larger gift, the next person is sure to open one of equal size and scope.
This year was quick and easy. Luckily for me and my bank account, we all agreed to make it a light Christmas, gift-wise.
I'm getting off topic here, but before I get back to the video store thing, I'll share the two highlights of Christmas with the family.
1.) Watching the film "Tropic Thunder" as a family. Hey, it's not "It's a Wonderful Life" or "A Christmas Story," but who cares? In my Dad's words, "This is a Christmas tradition I could get used to."
2.) Re-gifting a toy lobster for the family dog, Roxy. She was almost fooled the first time, and all other attempts were fruitless. My mom would pull the lobster out of the gift bag, and Roxy would hang her head and lie down. Needless to say, we ventured out to Lake Placid on Friday to get her a second gift.
So, there I was, returning a few films at the Movie Gallery in Saranac Lake, expecting to be in-and-out in a matter of seconds, when some strange force compelled me to start browsing the aisles.
Let's get one thing straight: I am not a browser. My girlfriend can attest to this. When I go to Price Chopper, I'm on a mission. When I go to buy a pair of pants at the Gap, I'm on a mission.
When I go shopping with Jamie, I am also on a mission - I try to act as childish as humanly possible so that Jamie will give me the keys and let me wait in the car. That's because Jamie's style of shopping is the complete opposite of mine. She is usually looking for something unknown, something that could be anywhere in the store, and if it is hiding, it is usually hiding among the handbags or the smelly candles.
So I started perusing the aisles. I scanned every single shelf of the new releases before entering the "central area" of the video store, where the older releases, video games and television series are located. I came to the horror section - my favorite section - and my eyes stopped at the film "It," based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.
And this proved to be the single greatest decision I have ever made in my life. Period. Hands down. Seriously. One word: awesome. Another word: radical. A third word: life-altering (I made it a compound word, so technically it still qualifies as one word).
"It" is not a movie about a killer clown. "It" is about the power of real friendship. "It" taught me that by being loyal to the people I love most, I can go underground and literally beat the crap out of giant spiders, and walk away unscathed.
"It" is proof that if my girlfriend leaves me alone for more than two days at a time, I become extremely impressionable and allow my life to be influenced by early-90s made-for-television movies starring John Ritter.
Welcome back, Jamie!
Chris Morris is the news editor at Denton Publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org