In Which I am Turning Into My Father

Recently my family and I were at a Dairy Queen for a little treat. As I sat eating my Blizzard®, I thought to myself, “I think this is the first Blizzard® I’ve eaten in more than twenty years!” I was about to say so out loud, when I realized that was patently not true. If I thought about it, there were at least a handful of times I had stopped in a Dairy Queen since what I remembered as my “last” visit and the chances that I didn’t have a Blizzard® on those visits were slight. It made me give second thoughts to a few things that had happened recently.

There were two recent events that I claimed were firsts for me: eating a corn dog, and watching Lady and the Tramp. I think I’m correct on the corn dog. I know I typically eschewed them at State fairs and school lunches, and they weren’t the type of thing we had on hand at home (despite a proclivity for frozen food stuffs). So when I ate a corn dog (hand-dipped and all) at a local pumpkin patch/kid extravaganza this fall, I am certain that was corn dog #1 down my gullet. It was ok. Let’s just say I didn’t hate it, but I won’t be brewing up any in my kitchen any time soon.

Lady and the Tramp? Well, we own it on video casette, and we typically don’t buy movies just to shelve them (that’s for books!), so I have to assume that we watched it when we bought it almost ten years ago. But when my daughter found it in the cabinet a few weeks ago and we started watching it ad nauseum, I couldn’t remember a thing about it (except that scene, which I’ve seen countless other places). So, even though I’m sure I’ve been in the same room while it played in the past, it wasn’t until recently that I actually watched it.

Hang on, hang on! What does this have to do with anything?

I mentioned my internal dialog to my wife, who just shook her head. Our daughter, the only one truly using the moment to its full advantage, was eating her first ice cream cone. And my Blizzard®. I ate another scoop and then looked up suddenly at my wife. “What?” she asked. It was my turn to shake my head.

“I’ve turned into my father,” I said.

My wife, being the caring soul she is, laughed and said, “Yeah, right?!”

See, my father makes a lot of claims of this nature, his most famous being, “The last movie I saw in the theater was The Sound of Music.” I know for a fact this is false, having been to at least one movie with him since The Sound of Music was in theaters, but he continues to make this statement to this day. Partly for comedic effect, and partly to play into what his audience expects of him. It’s almost a catch phrase.

But it’s more than that: my father often says things along the lines of I haven’t done X in Y years (or since Z). I have to admit, I do the same thing. I’ve clearly picked this up from my father (which is not a bad thing, my dad’s a pretty successful guy and a good father so he’s not a bad person to emulate). All the same, perhaps I need to rethink some of those statements I’ve made.

I traditionally declare that I am not a fan of genre media and that I don’t watch genre television or film. This post was originally some thousands of words about how I don’t care for the stuff and trying to figure out why that is. But I know now that this is wrong.

It isn’t that I don’t like SF media; I’ve just gotten more selective about what I watch. While I used to revel in things like Space: 1999 or The Green Slime or Thundarr the Barbarian, these days I’d rather watch something like Night Watch or Lost or A Scanner Darkly. Sure, I still carry a huge torch for the original Star Trek, and I can enjoy eye candy films like Blade, Resident Evil, Reign of Fire, or Ghosts of Mars*, but mostly I like things these days that have more emphasis on plot and storyline.

I suppose it isn’t surprising that the 37-year-old has more refined tastes than the 9-year-old did. I’ve come a long way, especially when you consider there was a point in my life when all I wanted was a new Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme movie if there wasn’t a new Nightmare on Elm Street or Texas Chainsaw Massacre** out that weekend.

And that doesn’t even consider the fantasy films that have been in theaters recently like Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, or The Lord of the Rings movies. Nor does it include any superhero films which nearly always disappoint me, but that I can’t avoid watching. There are more television shows, too, that are definitely genre influenced like Pushing Daisies, Chuck, or Robot Chicken.

It’s not all peaches and roses, though. There are some recent popular television shows and movies that many genre fans love that I cannot stand. They include: Firefly, Serenity, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who***, Torchwood, Batman Begins, the three most recent Star Wars movies, and Babylon 5. I’ve tried to watch all of these things, but they just don’t stick with me.

So what about you? Any television show or movie that you like that you keep secret from your friends? What about a show you hate?

I’ll probably still claim that the last science fiction film I liked was Blade Runner, despite evidence to the contrary. Hey, I’d hate to let the old man down.

* All of those movies were watched during a summer when we had all the cable movie channels, and I would watch TV with the sound off while my wife slept. I enjoyed watching, but not listening to, them all quite a bit. However, when I watched a few during the day with the sound on…they were terrible. So, no links.

** I freely admit that the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is my favorite film of all time. Just to mess with you, my second favorite film of all time is In the Mood for Love.

*** I have never liked Doctor Who. Many of my grade-school friends were big fans, and I just never understood why. With the current revival, I find many of my current friends are fans of the show, but I just cant get into it.

[Photo taken by me; used with my permission and encouraged by Sophie Brookover.]


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