Friday, June 24, 2011

Totally Off-Topic

So I'm a writer.
It's a tough calling; something I wanted to be, then denied being, for quite some time. Since some of you know this, and some of you don't...I decided to share something with you today that is not police-related...unless perhaps you can relate it in your mind to an officer you know...and either way, I figure what the hell: It's Friday!



Being an outdoor junkie, when I first saw the advertisement for Screenings Under The Stars there was no question that I would be attending the event; the choice of movie had little to no bearing on my split decision to spend a glorious summer eve under a full panoply of stars. When I found out the featured film was E.T., well-all the better! My mind flicked back to when I first encountered the lovable alien. The year was 1982 and I was eleven; E.T. was the first summer blockbuster of its kind, and I (just like every other kid on the block) harassed my mother to let me go until she shoved a few crumpled bills into my sweaty hand and practically forced me out of her face and into the theatre.
I picture our foray into structured events in Suburbia: friends nearby, wine in hand, an endless array of munchies a mere palms-distance away on a collapsible outdoor table, my Eddie Bauer chairs touching a slowly dewing grass...I sigh as I realize that I can’t define the joy I get out of simple events and things, I just know that to me, this is a little piece heaven.
E.T. is what most of us would call a modern-day classic. I wondered about it as I unfolded my table and took the condom-sleeve off my collapsible chairs: would I still feel the same way about it, seeing it now as an adult? Or was I too jaded from the world and all it hadn’t offered? Would I still be able to see it the way I saw it when I was standing on that stilting ledge: not yet a teenager, too world-weary to be called a child? Or would the child in me rise up, demanding to be heard, anxious to embrace this creature of summers past? Would I still find it funny? I unpacked my snacks and looked around at all the people my age and older who were taking their children to see E.T., perhaps for the very first time.
Were they reminiscing too?
I popped the top off a can of soda and settled into my chair. I had the wine, sure, but for some reason, an orange soda seemed so much more apropos. I decided after a swig or two that it really didn’t matter if E.T. didn’t hold the same magic that it had that special summer: what mattered now is that I was spending a night outside, the breeze blowing gently through my hair, still able to somehow suspend my disbelief; even if only for a two-hour time frame.
The film began and of course I was amazed to see how young Drew Barrymore was: was this the same girl who was now one of the three (movie) Charlie’s Angels? I looked at the props: the can of Fresca on the table in the middle of a card game, the first obtuse product placement in the name of Coke, the fashions and how much things have changed in what seems like so short a time.
It took me back.
The film continued and I was surprised to see things that perhaps I hadn’t seen before. Had E.T. always seemed so human? Had Elliott always been so real? Were the adults always the only ones who couldn’t see past their hazy view of reality? Or perhaps it was just my perspective that had changed…add a few years and a handful of heartbreaks to any soul on this Earth, and you’ll see a whole new outlook-not always for the better.
As the movie progressed, I will admit to getting choked up in parts and perhaps a tad bit more sentimental than the first time around. Okay, I was overcome towards the end-I felt the magic again-and I cried unabashedly at the realization that I probably don’t feel that way quite often enough.
This is where it gets tricky. E.T. is just about to board his coaster home. The music swells…an overwhelming crescendo…and suddenly it’s just Elliott and E.T. saying goodbye…for perhaps the very last time.
“Come.” E.T. says this to Elliott, his passport plane bleating behind him; his time on Earth almost over, his loved ones calling him home.
E.T. Phone Home.
“Stay.” Elliott counters with this, and we feel torn as we watch two people (beings?) who love each other struggle to exist in one another’s world.
We all know what happens…E.T. must go home, and Elliott must go on and live his life, perhaps soaring into adulthood a little more hopeful than the rest of us.
“Ouch.” E.T. needs to say no more.
“Ouch.” Elliott returns.
Because, really, what else is there to say? Relationships are complicated. There are times that we simply cannot fit into someone else’s world-no matter how much we may want to be there. There are times when Ouch is the only fitting phrase. There are times when you just have to be a kid again, and sit under the stars, and shed a few tears…summers past and opportunities gone…times when a movie can teach you oh-so-very much.


  1. I have never seen the movie. But it does make me want to go back and look at some of the movies I loved as a child. It is funny how life changes us. Yet the real lessons of life never change.

  2. this is very well written...makes me want to rent ET so I can remember. Thanks for posting this

  3. E.T. is a modern-day classic for a reason; we can all relate!
    Thanks, as always, for your open hearts.
    XO Stella


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