I often get annoyed at movies when a situation’s set up seems too perfect. I don;t mean the tropes I’ve come to accept, such as how televisions always seem to have a special report that directly relates to the characters or a secondary character just happens to read a poem out loud that provides the insight the main character needs. No, I mean when people behave in a way they never do in real life. I cringe every time someone in a movie throws a drink on someone else, fumbles on the floor for contacts or glasses, or, worse, when a foreshadowed event happens, but with a “humorous” twist. But then I think about it for a moment and realize that those kind of things do happen. I know from personal experience.
I actually had two movie moments in just one night. I was a sophomore and Northeast was one again in the regional tournament which was held at Austin Peay. The game came down to the wire and we barely won in the final seconds. I threw my hands into the air and cheered. Unfortunately, my thumbs somehow hooked my glasses and they also flew in the air. In the middle of a crowded Dunn center I had to crawl around the bleachers and look for them. Eventually someone tapped me on the shoulder and handed them back. They had them the whole time and just enjoyed waiting while I looked for them.
After the game I found myself talking to a not unattractive girl whom I spoke with a few times, but always assumed she was out of my league, mainly because she was. We joked around and for some reason she threatened to pour her drink on me.
“Oh yeah, like you would actually do that,” I laughed.
It turns out she would do that. I drove home wearing the entire contents of her wax paper cup. It was a large.
Still, I suppose those situations could (and have) happened to many people. They may not completely qualify as a movie moment. Maybe they’re just humorous in and of themselves. Sometimes, though, a situation evolves that seems as if it had to be written.
I dreamed of having an inspiring movie moment ever since seventh grade when I was told I looked like the lead character in Lucas (a movie that starred Corey Haim and Charlie Sheen before either became a joke. Guess which one I was). I was flattered until I actually watched the movie. Still, I wanted my movie moment. I really wanted something like out of Can’t Buy Me Love (the original with Patrick Dempsey before he was McDreamy) where the geeky guy found his place in the sun and got the girl.
I got my movie moment my junior year of high school. It was my second year of French and one girl in the class and I bonded over the months. We had an easy friendship and for some reason felt comfortable sharing our hopes, fears, and dreams with each other. ONe afternoon we talked about our dreams and I confessed one of mine.
“I know it’s silly, but I’ve always wanted to actually be in Homecoming. I know I’ll never escort the Homecoming Queen or anything, but is it too much to hope that maybe, just maybe, I could escort one of the Homecoming Sweethearts?”
“So you want to be in the Homecoming Court?” she asked.
“Well, yeah. I know it won’t happen for a guy like me, but I can dream, right?”
“Why couldn’t it happen?”
I laughed and said, “Because who would ask me? It’s not exactly good social sense to be seen in public with me you know.”
“I would ask you.”
“No you wouldn’t. You don’t even want to go out with me.”
“I didn’t say I’d ask you out. I said I’d ask you to escort me if I were Homecoming Queen.”
“Don’t joke about that.”
“I’m not joking. Here’s a promise. I promise that if I am ever Homecoming Queen or one of the sweethearts I will ask you, Leighton Brown, to escort me. We will stand on the football field arm in arm and you’ll get your dream.”
I didn’t even try to pretend it wasn’t a big deal and said, “I’ll hold you to that.”
“You won’t have to. I promise.”
A month passed and I didn’t think about that promise very much. Okay, that’s a lie. I thought about it all the time. I imagined my triumphant moment when the social elite would have to accept me, even just for a night. They would because they couldn’t admit someone beneath them would be awarded such an honor.
Then an amazing thing happened. We sat in class when our teacher announced the French Club Homecoming Sweetheart. Just like a movie, the club elected the girl who promised me. She sat right in front of me, so I couldn’t see her expression, but I imagine mine was of delight. Suddenly, I didn’t just see us arm in arm, I felt it. I watched the crowd stare in open disbelief that she chose me.
My heart hammered as she turned around in her seat, looked me in the eye, and smiled. I opened my mouth and said, “Yes,” when she leaned to the side and asked the guy sitting behind me to escort her at Homecoming.
“Uh, well done,” I finished awkwardly.
I got my movie moment. I had simply failed to consider that I might not be the geeky guy who found love or at least acceptance. It turned out I was the geeky comic relief in a different romance.
Be careful what you wish for and all that.