Monday, February 07, 2005

Be Very Afraid

I still haven’t gotten my hands on a copy of The Pop-up Book of Phobias. I’ll keep watching for it. I’m pretty sure two of my top three phobias aren’t in there: fear of stairs (or, more accurately, falling down them) and fear of spending money. I’m sure my numero uno phobia is in there: fear of death. Not inevitable death, anymore, really, but sudden or early or accidental death. I also have phobias about losing things (especially jewelry), getting a cavity, people who stare, losing a digit in rotating mechanical equipment, playing tennis (don’t ask), breathing cigarette smoke (and for good reason), and wearing white pants. Maybe those aren’t phobias. Maybe those are just sensible natural impulses, or good judgement calls. Except for tennis. That’s just me. I overcame my fear of playing golf last summer though, so maybe there’s hope.

The reason I got to analyzing phobias is I’ve just seen The Aviator, and poor, fantastic Howard Hughes had phobias that make mine look quaint. I really think Leonardo DiCaprio should get an Oscar for sinking into the flesh of that role the way it’s apparent he did. I do so admire an actor that can make himself utterly repulsive for just a flash, then be so beautifully, desperately vulnerable in the next instant. I’m no critic, mind you; I’ll watch absolutely anything (except Jackass: The Movie) and find some aspect of it to enjoy. But occasionally I’ll see somebody do something I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do (and I can do a lot, which is why I’m Marvelous with a capital M) and I want them to get an award for it. Also Cate Blanchett portrays such a delicious Katherine Hepburn that you either get annoyed when she leaves the screen because you wanted more (no doubt to try and figure her out; is it an act, or is she really that bizarre?) or else you're totally relieved that she's gone, which means it's probably the most accurate portrayal of that exhaustingly dynamic woman ever captured on film.

My only complaint with the film is that even though dates appear on the screen to indicate the passing of time, there’s no other testimony to create the sense that years have elapsed, except maybe the building progress on certain key aircraft. So either they didn’t age Leo very well, or they tried and it just can’t be done, which I can see being the case because that boy has a serious, serious baby face. Even added facial hair just makes him look more and more juvenile; it's unnerving.

Coming into town (heading West on I-80) there’s a billboard on the roadside depicting half a dozen actual members of the medical staff from our local hospital (‘Real Heroes,’ declares the sign), and they’re all wearing Wranglers, Ropers, Brushpoppers, massive oval metal belt buckles, and black 10-gallon Stetsons. It makes me smile and wonder if a surgeon would or should really risk his hands doing rough ranchwork. My brother-in-law earned four stitches while butchering beefs Saturday, when a quick gun/knife swap went awry. It was an extremely lucky, clean slice on his inner arm between tendons and major arteries, done with a knife necessarily razor sharp, and he's sure he felt the blade tap bone. He’s so tough (or stubborn) they just taped him up and he finished the afternoon's work. He even insisted on a shower before going to the emergency room. Yes, he's fine. But no aspect of agriculture, folks, is for sissies.


Blogger Libby said...

I've seen the pop-up book. It's pretty cool, but nothing can beat Sabuda's pop-up books. They are amazing! Here's a book I bought the other day that I left at work like an idiot. Its clues lead to real treasure:

February 9, 2005 at 6:26 AM  

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