If You Build It, They Will Come.

Monday, October 31, 2005

It's raining in Baltimore, baby. But everything else is the same.

The Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies, and consequently one of my favorite books. The book is told the same way the movie was. It starts out with a young William Goldman sick at home, and his grandfather reading him the very very long version of "The Princess Bride" originally written by a man named S. Morgenstern.

I have had friends who claim that their friends uncles grandfathers sister-in-law (twice removed) has an original version of the extended "The Princess Bride" locked away in some safe, and that they've seen it, and that it's worth two entire butt-loads of money.

The truth is that there never was an original version of "The Princess Bride" and that the story was entirely written by William Goldman, and the grandfather telling the sick grandson was a brilliant story device entirely conceptualized by the author.

My favorite character was always Inigo. Partially because I loved his cool accent, but more because of that fight scene at the end between him and Count Rugen, the Six Fingered Man, where he keeps repeating that famous line, "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Plus, that's a killer line when Rugen is beat, and he makes him offer him all these riches in exchange for mercy, and he says "Offer me everything I ask for" and Rugen says "Anything you want." And he stabs him in the stomach and says, "I want my father back you son of a bitch." Remember that? That was awesome.

Vengeance is a powerful thing. It made Bruce Wayne become Batman, even though in the Nolan film, the guy who killed his parents was dead years before. It makes more poetic sense in the original Burton film that the guy who killed his parents was the Joker. But even in the Burton version, once the Joker is dead and his parents avenged, he keeps fighting criminals. Vengeance is what drives the Leonard character in Memento, another Chris Nolan film, even though if he gets revenge, he'll never even remember it. (spoiler avoided)

It's odd, but it seems that when the Joker kills your parents, or when Count Rugen kills your father, you can cling to vengeance. When you lose something you feel passionate about, you immediately want to clasp onto something else you feel passionate about to fill that void. And usually the nearest thing to clasp to is the pain and anger you have over losing the someone or something that you loved. You can let it consume you, and fill you in all the places that you are now empty, and it can drive you to study swordplay for twenty years, or put on the Batsuit. It's a fire that does not die easily, because it seeped into all the cracks and holes the loss left you. And if it was a deep loss, it left a lot of damage.

It isn't always vengeance, because some things cannot be avenged. Heartbreak for example. To quote another of my favorite movies, Swingers:

"I don't know man, sometimes it still hurts. I don't know man, it's like you wake up every day and it hurts a little less, and then you wake up one day and it doesn't hurt at all. And it's like, and this might sound a little weird, but it's like you almost miss that pain."
"You miss the pain?"
"Yeah. For the same reason you miss her, because you lived with it for so long."

It's really strange how that works. It's entirely true. I broke up with this girl once, and it was really hard. I was screwed up for about a year. It was before I had this blog, and I needed someone to talk to about it, or some way to get it out, and so I got my camcorder and I taped myself talking. All my anger and my sadness and all that depressing crap fired at a camcorder, which felt like it was the only thing that would listen to me without judging me.

I found the tape a few days ago, and not realizing what it was, I put it in. It's very interesting, and I highly recommend doing it sometime if you're really stressed or angry. I recommend being entirely honest. I also recommend making sure no one else sees it. (I let Rob borrow my camcorder, and I accidentally left the tape in it. When he gave it back he very awkwardly said, "You left a tape of yourself in the camera... you looked pretty mad.")

I watched most of it, and I thought it was actually funny. You ever look back at a hard time in your life and wonder what it was you were thinking, and why you took it so hard, and you wish you could just go back and slap yourself and tell yourself to stop being retarded? Now I know EXACTLY what I was thinking. It wasn't pretty. I was mad, I was sad and crying, I was furious, I was saying some awfully mean things, and one of the last segments I had shaved off all my facial hair, I looked like I had just woken up from a coma, I was barely acceptably dressed, and I turned the camera on and stared off into space for like three straight minutes without saying a word.

It was pretty pathetic.

I looked at it and laughed because now it doesn't hurt anymore, and it seems so far away from a time that it did. And I listened to the things that I said and I thought to myself, "Why am I so upset about this?" In the video I was all kinds of mad because she went to see some movie that I wanted to see with her. God was I mad. Now I look at it and think, "Of course she went without you, you had been broken up for six months. That means you don't go on dates anymore." She especially shouldn't have gone with someone as seemingly psychotic as I was if her seeing a movie without me set me off that bad. All in all it seemed pretty stupid.

But I think I get it now.

I wasn't trying to hang on to her. I was trying to hang on to the pain. Because in her absence, it was what I had left. It was the thing I now felt passionate about. My anger, my depression, my rage, it was all very real.

In not being allowed to love her, I fell in love with how much it hurt.

You're always made to believe that nothing worth doing is easy. In some twisted sick way, it also meant that if I didn't feel hurt, it meant that my love for her was very casual and weak. I don't know if that is true or not.

But I understand.

You do miss the pain because you lived with it for so long. You do love it in place of what you lost. Is it misguided? Yes. Is it irrational? Yes. Is it wrong or abnormal? Absolutely not.

And most importantly, looking back, I realize that just because the pain went away, it doesn't mean my love for her was weak and casual. It means my love for the pain was. She broke up with me. I broke up with how much it hurt.

It's your party. Why wouldn't you be invited?



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