Friday, March 25, 2016

San Andreas, 9/11, and how avoiding Batman vs. Superman brought me to tears

Ended up watching SAN ANDREAS tonight on HBO because it was free and had Carla Gugino and The Rock in it and who doesn't enjoy seeing that girl from the PERCY JACKSON series in wet clothes.  Plus it's the weekend when BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN drops, and I figured if I'm going to be disappointed by a high profile event movie it might as well be on my own terms.

It was a risk.  After all the kids had Spring Break this week, which means that as much as I love them, I've had a total of about 6 hours where I had neither work nor squids under my wing.  And because of the way the custody arrangement falls, I'm going into a full weekend plus an extra Monday of blissful, unending exposure to the the beautiful little terrorists who have hijacked my life (remember that inappropriate joke because it'll be apropos later).

My oldest is 11, and I mostly love watching movies with him,  I deeply dig how much he loves film.  He gets that from me and his mother.  But as a member of the newest unnamed generation he also lacks the self-awareness that leads a person to think, "Hey, I shouldn't talk through this. My thoughts as they spring from my head aren't the only fucking thing that matters."

So we're watching SAN ANDREAS, the latest ridiculous disaster porn that I'm aware of, and there is so much to love.  A high stakes helicopter rescue of a girl who is trapped in a car on the side of a cliff.  Mister Fantastic acting like a little bitch when his soon to be step daughter is trapped in a car.  A random helo EMT knowing that a sink hole he encounters is the San Andreas fault.  People outrunning a tsunami.  People outrunning an earthquake.  Kylie Minogue.

My point is there is a lot of MST3K worthy shit going on in this muthatrucker.  And it was fun, delightful, absolutely balls to the wall stupid.  It's the MAGIC MIKE of movies.  You certainly don't want to commit to it, you might not even want to admit you enjoy it, but there is fun to be had here if you just turn off your brain.

Unfortunately sometimes life catches you, just like Wolfman, in the 'nards.  My moment came when The Rock and his soon to be ex were about to jump out of a plane in the movie.  My son, one of the kindest souls to ever light this planet decided to comment,"Oh man, are they about to 9/11 this?"



(is there an unmitigated rage emoji)

I was surprised how quickly tears came unbidden to my eyes.  How desperately upset I was that anyone would use that day to make a casual comment.  To the best of my recollection I'll share my exact response.

"What do you mean by that?  What exactly do you mean by that?  Do you have any idea how dark a day that was for our country?  Do you have any idea that I was stuck in North Carolina that day?  The world exploded and I couldn't reach anyone.  I couldn't reach your mother.  I couldn't reach any of the people in New York that I love.  And they couldn't reach me.  No one knew what had happened.  No one knew who had hit us.  But we all were terrified, furious, and ready to do anything to make right what had happened that day."

I don't cry often, but the tears were streaming down my face at this point, and I could see that Deacon was truly struck by how deeply his off hand comment had speared me.

I told him I love him.  I told him I know he is kind and didn't mean anything by it.  I stepped back from my emotional response so that I could step back into being a proper parent.

We'll have a good talk tomorrow.  We'll watch footage of the actual event.  We'll look at the list of victims and the list of those we've lost since.  We'll look at the reactions and how ready we all were to burn the world.  And we'll talk about how time and perspective make us realize that the anger of the moment isn't always the best response.  That approving foreign policy in the midst of rage is dangerous.

We'll talk about how that one day has led us to the political climate of today.  How no one with any sense of self-awareness can ever be sure they are always right.  How horrible things happening are the deepest possible test of who we are.

And all of that will lead me to a place that I won't share with my son because he is too young to be saddled with certain burdens.  I won't share my fury that some on the right have accused me and others of like mindedness of being soft because we can face tragedy and not wish to scorch the earth.  I won't share my disgust at politicians who prop up their campaigns on the fear and jingoism of 9/11 without the morals to take care of the 9/11 first responders who still to this day are giving their lives.  I won't share that I am apoplectic at the thought of people using the same hate and nationalism that led to all of the greatest tragedies in world history to try and propel themselves to leadership in this country.

What I will share is love, tinged with sorrow.  I will make sure that he knows, as I do everyday, that he is an immense locus of love and hope in my life.  I will make sure he knows that some people will do bad things and that we must do what we can to stop them.

But I will never tell him that we have the right to do anything we think we need to do to serve our personal demons.

We live in a world of people.  Some make good on their potential.  Others, not so much.  We cannot create a world where those who wish to visit ill on others can be completely stopped.  But we can live in a world where we know that the way we react to the evil in human hearts doesn't define what is in our own.