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Life Imitating Art

Sep 24th, 2013 | By | Category: Nick Kemper's Blog

Nick KemperI staggered into a case of life imitating art last night. Two nights ago, my wife and daughter returned a Redbox movie and apparently you can’t return a Redbox movie without getting another one so she brought home “Silver Linings Playbook” and tossed it on my lap while I worked and watched ESPN in the Dungeon. About two hours later, while I was watching “Reservoir Dogs” on satellite TV, she asked me, “Aren’t you going to watch that movie?” So I started watching it. It was good. Unfortunately, I started it about 11 p.m., and I had to actually sleep before getting up for work so I didn’t finish it. I did take it out of the DVD player, so my 10-year-old didn’t stumble onto it during his last day of no-school and learn a whole new vocabulary from Robert DeNiro and Jennifer Lawrence.

The next day while at work, I send a text to my wife telling her when I was planning on leaving for the day and explaining that I have to make a stop on the way home. She texted back, asking if I’d watched the movie. I texted back that I watched most of it. Then I realized what she’s getting at, and what she was getting at the night before: there’s a deadline. The Redbox deadline is insidious — watch it and return it before 9 p.m. the next night or else. I know it’s only a couple of bucks, but I don’t want the Grid to judge me. Now I’m under the gun.

I stopped by one of our sister companies to try and figure out why some Dolly Trip Handles they bought from us aren’t working on their old dollys. Turned out it’s one particular dolly frame — not the handles — that was the problem. That only took about 20 minutes, so I still had a chance to finish the movie. Traffic wasn’t too bad on the way home from there, and I even took a couple of minutes to stop at the library and pick up some Nighwatchman CDs I have on hold.

Dinner was ready when I got home. I sat down to eat — a really good spicy pasta dish with a red sauce that has chili powder in it — it was only 7:30. My 10-year-old has his sans the sauce, with some chicken, and he’s suspicious right away. “Is this the pasta I don’t like?” He can sense it. It’s rice pasta. My wife is trying to get us to reduce our wheat intake. The rice pasta is good, and it’s not far off from regular pasta, but you can tell the difference. My 10-year-old consumes enough pasta on an annual basis that he can tell them apart like a wine connoisseur can suss out something made in Chile. He takes one bite and says, “Yep, this is the pasta I don’t like.” Even under a thick layer of parmesan. My wife made a concession and gave him some leftover rice, of all things, to eat with the chicken. I figured that the lid is off the rice pasta now, so I asked him if he knows what the pasta is made from. “Cow poop?” he asked. I didn’t even want to tell him it was rice pasta after that — his response was funnier than my revelation.

Dinner done, I sat down to watch the rest of the movie. I had to move back down to the Dungeon because of the language thing, and my wife was trying to get my 10-year-old to go to bed because the next day was the first day of school — so there was yelling. I waited for the dust to settle rather than crank up the volume. Then I started watching the rest of the movie with one eye on the clock on my blackberry.

8:51 p.m. The movie was over. Great movie. Good ending. At the first credit, I opened the DVD player and started hunting for the case, which my wife set on the back of the couch by the front door, knowing I needed to be swift and aerodynamic. I found my keys, got in the car, raced around the corner to the store, walked briskly across the parking lot, then jogged, then slowed to a fast walk inside the door. In front of the Redbox machine were two teenagers flipping through video games. 8:57. I’m hyper-alert, so within 30 seconds, I realize they’re just looking.

“Are you guys getting something?” I asked.

They scattered. “I got two minutes,” I explained as they scurried away.

On the way back to the car I started laughing because for the last few hours I felt just like Bradley Cooper’s character acted during the whole movie. Even before that — when it didn’t process in my brain that I had less than 24 hours to watch the movie — it mirrored the sub-theme of the movie that he’s too caught up in his obsessions to notice that Jennifer Lawrence has the hots for him. And as I moved from the car to the store door to return the video, I’m pretty sure I looked just like Bradley Cooper when he was looking for his wedding video, except without any of his movie-star facial or body features.

Craziness. Funny.

My advice for everyone this week: Pull back, switch to wide-angle and take a look at what you’re doing. You’ll crack up.

Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper