It’s something that we all have to do. As long as we continue to breathe we will continue to get older. Each minute, each hour, each day, and each year brings about something that alerts us that our bodies are, indeed, temporary. We can’t run as fast or as long as we used to. We don’t recover as quickly after a late night out with friends. It seems as though we find a new ache every couple of months; it was only a couple of days ago that I woke up and stepped out of bed and nearly collapsed because my ankle was swollen and felt sprained. Who in the world sleeps too athletically? Apparently me. I can take all of that no sweat but one thing I can’t really deal as I’ve gotten older is my emotions. Screw my emotions, all of them. Because they are betraying me at the most inopportune times.
I’m a bit of a animation/cartoon geek so obviously I was geared up when the new film Despicable Me 2 came out in theaters. It’s the story of a once super villain named Gru, his horde of yellow Twinkie like Minions that live in his laboratory/basement, and his three adopted daughters. The youngest daughter, Agnes, is the star of the show. Typical kid, full of energy, full pleading eyes, just oozes cute. The Agnes character was my favorite character in the first movie so I was looking forward to what she would be up to in this, the second film. A grabbed a seat about halfway back and in the middle of the row and prepared to take it all in.
I will say that this film equaled its predecessor in just about every way; good animated action and some great laugh out loud moments for me including one where Agnes is practicing a poem that she has to read for school. But then, a tender moment when the little tyke realizes that the poem she is assigned to read doesn’t apply to her because she’s adopted and doesn’t have two parents. Bummer, right? I really felt bad for the kid. Her big eyes glued to the floor and face drawn in the deepest of sulks, you felt for her, but then she pepped up and realized that she could just pretend that the poem applied to her and she skipped off to her room to practice some more. That bit of the movie was just the evil geniuses at Illumination Studios planting the seed because later in the movie when little Agnes hops up on the table in efforts to get everyone’s attention I started to panic because the inevitable is about to happen. “F*ck. She’s about to recite her poem”, is what I immediately thought to myself.
Like I said earlier, my emotions have started to go a little haywire with each passing birthday and I knew that if that little animated girl started reading that poem as she stood there on that table then I was going to have a problem. My row was full, sitting next to me on my left was a blonde attending the movie with her boyfriend, on my right was a kid, a little girl somewhere around 10 or 11, sitting next to her mother. And I’m sitting here between them…and there’s a LOT of dust in this theater apparently because my eyes are really starting to water just as Agnes is standing there with her big animated eyes nervously scanning the crowd around her. “Screw these writers with a warped wooden rake handle”, I think to myself because now I feel an actual sound trying to make its way out of my throat. “Oh, I know that’s not a sob trying to form in my throat! Hell nah.” But it was and it was racing to make itself heard just as Agnes gathered herself and started in with the first line of her poem. It was both good news and bad news that I caught the sob, good in that I didn’t actually sob in a theater, but bad in that a worse sound than a sob came out instead. I tried to physically swallow as the sob was coming but when the swallow met the sob they collided and formed what I call a “super gasp”, imagine being held underwater for 6-7 seconds, and then you’re let up for air, that big breath of air you would take is what it sounded like. Yeah, no bueno. But certainly no one heard that right? Not in this quiet theater at the tenderest moment of the movie.
Of course I was heard. Who am I fooling?
I stole a glance down to the right and the little girl is looking up at me like “What’s wrong with him?” and then I face forward toward the screen but in my peripheral vision I see the blonde looking over towards me. I angle my face toward her a little bit and she has a look in her eye that said, “This big Black dude in this movie ain’t about to shed tears, is he?” No I was not! Even though I felt a tear pooling in the corner of my eye and threatening to spill out. I had to catch it but I had to be slick so I faked a yawn and then wiped my eyes as I stretched there in my seat and that worked for the moment but damn if Agnes wasn’t still reciting her poem standing on that table in her little dress with her little cherubic face glowing in the animated sun. Another tear threatened in my right eye which I quickly wiped away with a napkin that I had in my lap, only problem with that is that I’d used that same napkin to wipe my hands after eating buttered popcorn and theater butter stings. So now I’m tearing up because of Agnes and because of the butter in my eye and all I want now is for this movie to be over so I can be away from the scrutiny of the blonde on my left and the little girl on my right.Agnes finally finished her poem and I’m sitting there eyes stinging just thinking to myself over and over again, “Damn you, movie! Damn you to hell!”
The movie finally ends and the theater empties and I’m still in the row so as not to run into anyone that was sitting around me and had a suspicion as to what was happening in my seat in the theater. I had to redeem myself after that so I went to see Man of Steel, then went to the gym and lifted with rock music blaring in my ears, and then I went to a sports bar, and watched lots of sports and had beer, lots of beer; all the while trying to forget that I was at the mercy of a cartoon 6 year old for a 90 second span earlier in the day. Next month, God, just double up on the morning sprained ankle; more of that and less of the emotional breakdowns in unlikely places. Thanks.
~thanks for reading
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