Thursday, October 4, 2012

If Adventure Has a Name, I Wish It was Georgia Richardson

            On our first date, Kim came by the house and we had picnic plans at Bonaventure Cemetery. She arrived just as I was caught up in watching a broadcast on USA of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Indiana was safe aboard the Bantu Wind with the ark burning off all signs of Hitler’s regime. Marion had just finished kissing all the places that didn’t hurt and Indy had just elaborated with my now famous mantra of,” It’s not the years but the mileage.”

Kim arrived right after Marion clocks Indiana in the head with the mirror.  Kim started laughing because she admitted to loving this movie and had a son who wanted to be Indiana Jones. I remember replying something like how all males want to be Indiana Jones. And I still do.

I discovered Raiders of the Lost Ark in the original Kroger’s on Abercorn across from the mall during the early spring of 1981. It was that weird transition from being a kid to being a teenager because I was closing in 13 but still enjoyed much of my childhood toys. I was thumbing through the magazines trying to find a current issue of Starlog or a good comic book when I came across a magazine boasting,” Spielberg and Lucas together for the first time!”

It was one of those movie mags and I quickly found the article. My mom began calling for me so I had to go but I had skimmed to infer the movie’s story. I figured that Han Solo and a bunch of guys were trying to pull some sort of heist during WWII. I laugh at myself when I  remembered how little interest I had  about seeing this. I was too pumped about Clash of the Titans to care. Give me a Greek Myth back in those days!

About the time I was spending my annual few weeks in Savannah with the grandparents, I saw my first trailer on the TV while watching Batman on Channel 28. Night and day, people. Night and Day. Suddenly I had a new mission which was to go see and see this movie. I still remember the taglines which read, “From the director of Jaws and the maker of Star Wars”. The image of Indy grasping onto  Army truck as the BMW hood ornament crumbles is forever burned into my mind.

I can even hear the soundtrack at this moment
After conning my grandparents into taking me to the old Weis Cinemas located where the Cargo Freight is by the Publix on Abercorn, I finally saw the movie. I even scammed Mark Horton who my grandma made me take for “safety” regardless of the fact that I hated being around  Mark because he made farting noises all the time. He made my weirdness look normal.

Grandma bought me the comic adaption so I knew when Marion was “dead: she was actually in the hands of the Nazis. Capitalizing on the need for some more raisinettes I said to Mark,” I bet that lady didn’t die.”

“Robby, you’re an idiot. The truck exploded and that cowboy guy is broken up because she’s gone. Stupid! PPPHHHHTTTT!!!!” farted Mark.

“Wanna bet?” I had laid my trap.

Mark smiled greedily, “Oh, I am always up for some more comic book money.”

“How ‘bout loser buys winner something form the concession stand?” I asked

Mark just kept grinning. “You’re on and you’re dead too.” I kept waiting for Mark to make his famous fart sound but somehow he spared me of this. Twenty minutes later, I was pouring raisinettes into my popcorn much to Mark’s chagrin.

For the next couple of days, I drove my grandparent’s nuts by wearing one of Pop’s old dress hats and attempting to make rope swings all over their property. Many bruises later, I began to scheme ways to get a real bull whip. I remember asking my Pop who just started laughing and then walked into the pump house where he was always piddling on a project. I could still hear him chuckling from inside. I took that as a no.

                        I honestly believe Lucas and Spielberg found that proverbially lightening in a bottle with their creation of the Indiana Jones Trilogy (Yes, I said trilogy. Crystal Skull is the family equivalent of the creepy cousin in jail for selling meth to schoolchildren whom no one mentions at holidays). Henry Jones Jr. has these qualities which become endearing to both sexes. I honestly believe every guy wants to be Indiana Jones if they could.

            While working on this blog, I shared some these notions with my good friend/teacher/fellow blogger, Paul Sidney.  Paul mentioned how it’s not just the adventuring and the manliness but the prospect of discovery that strikes a chord within us. He went on by sharing how whether its’ fixing a pipe or discovering a treasured artifact, we are always seeking something which will lead to our betterment somehow. Interesting observation and another reason I love working with this guy.

            A few weeks ago, the Richardson-Yancey party made the two hour trip to Jacksonville so we could watch the restored IMAX version of Raiders on the really, really big screen. It was an EPIC time. On the long ride back, the discussion began. Kim shared some of her observations. Most dealt with the characterization of Indy. She felt it would have been so easy to make him an over-the-top super guy who always comes out on top but yet Lucas and Spielberg resisted. Rarely does Indiana Jones walk into a situation where is not already out-gunned, outmatched, or outmanned but it doesn’t stop him. This makes him so relatable because how many times daily do we feel this way? Somehow Indiana Jones is always in over his head but somehow fights his way to the top doesn’t just make him vulnerable but almost irresistible to women. He’ll come and save you yet he is not a cad about it.

            Every generation looks to the big screen to find those qualities they feel are what epitomizes manliness. We’ve have Gable, Bogart, Hemingway, and Steve McQueen to name a few. I contend our generation has Indiana Jones. He is not the infallible tough guy like McQueen was but reflects that early 80s rise of the anti-hero we have come to embrace while also showing characteristics which make him like us. Sure, Indy can sport a dusty fedora but he also looks cool in round glasses and a tweed suit. Everybody looks good in a fedora but not everyone can pull of the “professor look.”

            I watched my son and daughter engrossed in the first adventure of Indiana Jones and it was almost as much fun as the action on the big screen. Kim and I made a point to watch them during the big scare sequences and their reactions mirrored our own as kids. My heart swelled with pride as I watched the boy fight alongside Indy as he tried to steal the Iron Wing to whisk the ark and Marion to safety. Roni had a blast trying to creep me out during the Well of Souls because she knows all too well how much I hate snakes too. (Sadly the only thing I share with Indiana Jones)

            Part of the fun I have in writing this blog is how I get talk about the world I share with my kids and how much fun it is to rediscover the magic and surprises left for us. Seeing Raiders on the IMAX screen was twist. Normally, it’s all about Kim letting me be my big Geeky self, Jude gets excited, and Roni makes her comments but secretly digs it too. Indiana Jones is a character which is universally appreciated so Kim and I shared this together with the kids.  We got to do this as parents and I loved it.

We got ours and even gonna frame it!
            Another aspect, I re-visit in writing this blog is watching history repeat itself. Kim jokingly refers to Jude as “Little Robby” because, in many ways, it’s not a stretch to believe he could be my actual son. True to form, Sunday morning and I am drinking coffee while playing Arkham City on the Xbox. Jude joins, watches, picks his moment s and says,” You know what would be cool, Robby?”

            I am dying to hear what the Little Man is up to. I can tell by Jude’s manner it’s going to be good. “What would that be, Jude?”

Jude flashes his award winning smile in high hopes of breaking any resolve.”We should get a bull whip. A real one like Indiana Jones. We would have so much fun together. Think of the time we’d spend!”

            “Yeah, think of the hospital bills. Jude, guys like us aren’t meant to have bull whips. It’s a recipe for disaster,” I replied. I got up chuckling as I walked into the kitchen to freshen up my coffee in the pirate mug. As I poured another cup, I flashed back to that 13 year old kid trying to talk his grand pop into also buying a bullwhip and the chuckle grew louder. I gave the right answer just like my Pop did with me. As I added cream and sugar, I was a little proud that I acted like a grown up and said the responsible thing. But quite honestly, I also realized something else.

            I really do want that damn bull whip.

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