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.



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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