My Life with Indy

Unless you’re living in a cave filled with Kali worshipers, you’ve probably seen the trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. To say I was excited to catch my first glimpse of the new flick would be putting it mildly.

But then it hit me that a lot of kids who make up the precious 18-23 year-old demographic so many of the movies try to nab were toddlers the last time an Indy flick unspooled. I mean, my wife was only 6 when the third Indy film came out (and yet she’s a huge fan of the trilogy. She’s cool like that. She knows her good 80s flicks even though she was in diapers when they premiered; she was only 2 when Back to the Future was in theaters – man I love making myself feel old – but she’s still a fan).

It doesn’t seem like that long ago when that boulder first chased Indiana through the cave. But I guess I was 10 years old and I went to see it on a Saturday afternoon with my little sister, who would have been 5 at the time. Those were definitely different times when you could drop off a 10-year-old and a 5-year-old at the movies by themselves to watch the faces melt off of Nazis. We got home and couldn’t stop ranting about Raiders of the Lost Ark. My brother (who had opted to go to the swimming pool instead of the movies) knew he missed out.

Three years later when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom rolled around, I was an official Indiana Jones movie geek. Before it had even come to theaters, I already had the soundtrack (on vinyl) and had it memorized. I knew every trumpet swell, every smash of the timpani, and had the crescendos down pat. In fact, when I sang along with the opening song – a rendition of “Anything Goes” in Japanese – I remember a few of the people in the audience giving me the stink eye. I had the collectible behind-the-scenes book as well as the cheap novelization of the movie and I had begun to go to the library and photocopy magazine articles about Steven Spielberg. I couldn’t fully understand at 13 exactly what a director does but I knew his name and I knew he had a lot to do with it, and I wanted to have something to do with cool movies, too. I recognized his name from E.T. and that was when I knew whatever it was he did…I wanted to do it, too.

When Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade came out I was 18 and I knew everything you’d ever want to know about Spielberg. I studied his films and pored over every article I could get my hands on. And yet, Indy 3 disappointed me. I think this is the first time I’m saying this publicly.

The rest of my family, especially my dad, are such Indiana Jones fans, I couldn’t bring myself to confess that I didn’t love the third one as much as they did. And, if you know me, the reason for disliking it may seem odd. In the years since then, I’ve continued to be a fan of Spielberg but my tastes have veered to the comedic arts. I’m still interested in film but that is coupled with a love for stand-up comedy and all things Steve Martin, Dane Cook, and Will Ferrell.

And yet my complaint about Indy 3? It was too funny. Too goofy. Too much slapstick.

Sure, the first one had a few good laughs but for the most part, Indy was a serious down-to-business guy who got himself out of narrow scrapes and once in a while shot a guy instead of using his whip for a laugh. But all of a sudden he was running around with Sean Connery like 2 of the three stooges, complete with head bonks, slaps in the face, and pratfalls. Indiana Jones was never a comedy before… why were they trying to make it into one now?

And yet, even with this bitter taste in my mouth, I still remain a huge fan. I am trying to keep my expectations low and at the same time I’m really anxious to find out what happens next to our hero. The trailer that is online made me smile and even laugh and who knows, they may try to make Indiana funny again. I forgive them already if they do. I’m just looking forward to hanging out with my old buddy again.

Shut My Mouth

Life is filled with all kinds of opportunities to learn and one thing I’m learning is to keep my mouth shut. Or, more specifically, when to keep my mouth shut.

As much as I think of myself as an easy-going and carefree guy, I almost hate to admit that I actually have a lot of routines and have become a creature of habit. You have to do something this way or that way. Well, you don’t have to do it a certain way but there are certainly better ways of doing something.

Or at least that’s the mindset I realize I have. Or had. Have. But I’m trying to shake it.

Marriage will definitely show you areas you need to work on and brings to light all of those rough edges that may need smoothed out a bit. Sarah, whether she wants to or not, has been teaching me that I don’t have all the answers or know all the “right” ways. I know. You’re probably as surprised as I am, because I pretty much thought I had everything figured out.

The biggest area I’ve been challenged on, oddly enough, is cooking. Sarah approaches the kitchen differently than I do and I can learn something from her outlook. Let’s say the subject is a pasta dish. I’ll go online or check one of my cookbooks and find out what I need. If it calls for a cup of sauce, I’ll measure out a cup. A half teaspoon of garlic warrants a half teaspoon. I follow the directions step-by-step and am usually rewarded with a tasty meal.

Sarah tackles it entirely differently. If Sarah wants to make that same pasta dish, she jumps in and just….starts to make it. Tackling it from a I-think-this-is-probably-what-goes-in point of view, mixed with a what-if-I-put-this-in approach straight from Ratatouille she goes to town. Measuring cups and measuring spoons are nowhere to be found.

I found myself warning Sarah about doing it “that way.” You can’t just throw things in there and hope it’s the right combination. That’s not how it’s done, shouldn’t be how it’s done, and is only a recipe for disaster.

And sometimes I was right. Sometimes there was too much garlic or things would burn. But being right never brought the satisfaction I would normally get from proving myself correct and I wasn’t sure why.

Some girl once told me that Elijah Wood (he played Frodo in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) played the little kid from E.T. I told her that no, that kid’s name is Henry Thomas. And she insisted it was Elijah Wood. We went back and forth and I finally had to email her a link to IMDb (Internet Movie Database) to prove I was right. And that felt good. I showed her.

But in the case of Sarah and her cooking, I never felt good or vindicated when it turned out I was correct in my warnings.

And I don’t think I should.

It shouldn’t be about who’s right or wrong (or more specifically if I’m right or wrong). I was thinking about this early this morning and realize now that every time I tell her that she’s doing it wrong, her method is incorrect, it sends the message I don’t trust you.

And the most ironic thing about it? I end up criticizing one of the things about her I love most: her zeal for life, the fact that she goes into it knowing she can do it the fact that she can’t never enters her mind — doubt never settles in long enough to tell her otherwise. I could use a little bit of that myself.

Last night Sarah wanted to make quesadillas. I’ve never made them myself but have been in the kitchen when my uncle John made them. The point is I’ve never made them myself. And yet for some reason when Sarah said she was going to try to cook them in the oven I still felt the need to point out they are cooked on the stove top in a griddle.

And then I stopped.

I wasn’t helping. I wasn’t doing any good. If anything, I was taking the joy of cooking out of it. And even though my tone was friendly what I was saying was wrong. She’s showing love by cooking my dinner and all the thanks I had to offer was to let her know she wasn’t doing it the right way?

I was instantly angry with myself. Who was I to say what’s right and what isn’t? How long ago was it when I was trying things for the first time and they didn’t always turn out like the picture on the box? It wasn’t so long ago that I should have forgotten about it already.

I decided to shut my mouth and let Sarah do her thing. And she rocked it out. I don’t even know how she ended up making them and I didn’t ask. I ate an entire plateful and even had some of hers that she couldn’t finish. She did an amazing job and I was again upset that I would ever think to tell her she was wrong.

I’d like to blame the fact that I was sick all weekend for my lack of tact and thought, but why make excuses? To paraphrase Steve Martin, sometimes I’m just a big dumb guy.