In a gutsy spirit of nonchalant masochism, I propose to tell you a crushingly embarrassing memory.
And enumerate the reasons for which it is so crushingly embarrassing.
I'll have to give you a bit of background. There is a former university tutor of mine for whom I have a great deal of respect (indeed, there are two, but that doesn't matter). We'll dignify him with a pseudonym, shall we? Let's call him Albert. This is a man of considerable wisdom in a number of arenas, whose positive influence upon me I would openly acknowledge, and whom I admire in many respects.
Now, dear reader, picture me – your antihero – confiding earnestly in a trusted companion. Whom we'll pseudonymically call Gabrielle. Speaking in tones heavy with self-revelatory significance:
THE HOOLIGAN: ... Albert actually said something that I found incredibly moving. It was when we were at our end-of-university dinner, and the conversation had alighted upon the subject of children.
GABRIELLE: Right ...
HOOLIGAN: I think someone had said that they'd never want to have children. And Albert heard this. And came out with an incredibly moving response.
GABRIELLE: Uh huh? [Gabrielle gets all the best lines. Just you wait.]
HOOLIGAN: Yeah. He said something like ... "Having children is incredibly difficult. You go through all these things ... You argue, fail to understand one another. They grow up – and sometimes you feel as though you've lost them ... But then you're talking to them. And you realise: these are the most fascinating people I will ever meet."
GABRIELLE: ... Um ... Isn't that from Lost In Translation?
Some kind of uber-resonant gong should have sounded, at this point. Or perhaps some kind of 'comedy' duck noise, at very least.
This episode – and I cannot stress this enough – devastated the Intellectual Hooligan. To the core, my friends, the very core. And on such a multiplicity of levels.
Level 1: Oh Christ, I have just made an incredibly embarrassing error.
Level 2: Jesus, but I actually still can imagine those words coming out in his voice.
Level 3: How horrendous! I'd built this up as a searing revelation – a moment of true value; a treasured memory of pivotal significance to me at a defining point in my life – and come out with a line from a popular film. And I truly believed this to be genuine, with all my heart.
Level 4: Oh crap-in-a-blender ... Does this mix-up not afford – in a nauseating, insomnia-inducing fashion – a deeply worrying insight into a series of buried mental associations?
Level 5: How many others amongst my treasured array of oft-recounted anecdotes might in fact involve transplanted dialogue, lifted wholesale from the scripts of mainstream-indie movies?
Level 6: May this kind of thing, in fact, have happened before, in a situation in which everyone was too polite to point out said transplant?
Level 7: I would like, so very dearly, to forget that this ever happened.