73. Dude, How Have You Not Watched This Movie?

More gems from family group chat:

ELDER SISTER
Billy has 49 pieces of bacon. He eats 35. What does he have now?
Happiness… Billy has happiness.

ME
What.

ELDER SISTER
I’m so jealous of Billy.

ME
You can buy bacon too.

MOM
Fat cholesterol.

ELDER SISTER
Totally going to.
Delicious cholesterol.

MOM
Evil cholesterol.

ELDER SISTER
Yummy cholesterol.

MOM
Killing cholesterol.

ELDER SISTER
Happy cholesterol.

MOM
Happy dying cholesterol?

ELDER SISTER
Awesome cholesterol.

MOM
Only God is awesome.

ELDER SISTER
Fine.
Godly cholesterol.

MOM
?? ???

Someone should just make a show out of my family’s life.

People around me are continually surprised at the number of movies I have never watched. It appears that since I am a writer of stories, I should have, ought to have, must have watched a particular list of movies in order to qualify. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • The Matrix
  • The original Star Wars trilogy
  • Silence of the Lambs
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Fight Club
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Back To The Future
  • Groundhog Day
  • Blade Runner
  • Donnie Darko
  • The Godfather
  • Memento
  • Scarface
  • No Country For Old Men
  • Any of Woody Allen’s or Quentin Tarantino’s movies (except for Midnight in Paris and Reservoir Dogs)

The news, when broken to them, is usually immediately followed by a “Dude, how have you not watched this movie?” reaction on their part. I used to shrug and go, “Yeah, how have I not watched these movies?”. But these days, I cannot help but feel slightly annoyed at this.

Hit rewind to a few years ago: I was just beginning to discover the joys of writing stories, and was just starting to take it seriously. Now comes along a fellow book enthusiast, and we begin talking about the books that we like to read, and she mentions that her favorite book is The Secret Garden, by Frances H. Burnett.

I, of course, had to admit that I have heard of the novel, but have never read it. Upon hearing this, she gave me a look of what appeared to be dismissive contempt, and this came out of her mouth:

“You haven’t read The Secret Garden?? Don’t call yourself a writer if you haven’t read The Secret Garden!”

Well, excuse me.

I wasn’t aware that there exists a list of books that I must have read, or a list of movies that I must have watched before I can properly qualify as a writer of fiction. I mean, I understand the joys of experiencing a classic; but I don’t think there is a necessity for it. At the end of the day, I couldn’t care less if Mr. Nolan has only watched 3 movies in his entire life, or if Ms. Rowling has never read a single word of Stephen King’s work, because the both of them tell pretty damn good stories.

It is, of course, the responsibility of every writer to read a lot, and to write a lot; and the more quality works they surround themselves with, the better. But seriously, don’t be that guy who goes, “Dude, how are you even a writer when you haven watched/read this and this, man?”, because it’s bloody irritating. Can you imagine other people doing the same thing to you?

PHYSICIST
Dude, how do you not know about quantum theory, man? It’s literally the most important thing in the world!

ACCOUNTANT
Dude, how can you not know about how the double-entry system works, man? It’s what keeps businesses running and people employed!

MUSICIAN
Dude, how have you not heard of Kraftwerk, man? They’re the raddest thing around right now!

PROGRAMMER
Dude, how don’t you know about tall recursion, man? It’s the best thing ever!

PHILOSOPHER
Dude, how don’t you know that you don’t know, man? It’s, like, the beginning of all knowledge!

Parents, tell your kids; kids, tell your parents; friends, tell your friends:

DON’T BE THAT GUY.

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