Sunday, 6 July 2008

A crushingly embarrassing memory


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."

[Considerable pause]

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.




But
that
is
not
going
to
happen.

3 comments:

Jekteir said...

How did you do it? Extraordinary. Consider yourself lucky to have such an imaginative memory.

Billicatons said...

Ah, jekteir ... The soothing balm of consolation. Thank you ...

I definitely prefer 'imaginative' to 'plagiaristic'.

Mortaine said...

We always think of the best lines later, right:

"Wasn't that from Lost in Translation?"

(not skipping a beat) "But of course-- Albert was a consultant on the script several years after I graduated. He invited me to the premier with Bill Murray, but I had some other pressing appointment that night."

At least then you'll only be known as a pompous name-dropper.

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