Words That Stick

Maybe it’s this way for everybody, I don’t know. Sometimes I’ll stumble across something in a book, anyway, and it’ll just burrow right to the core of me and never leaves. I say sometimes, but, I suppose, I’m only about to list three. And, it’s not that they’re said all that perfect or anything, it’s more like they’re just obviously true. Trick was, I’d just never thought about them:

  • ‘Everybody has a certain homesickness for the decade they were born in.’ An inexact pull/ugly paraphrase of a bit from Pynchon’s V.
  • ‘Until they’re twenty-five, every guy thinks that, if something really bad happens to his family, then he can just get a sword and go samurai.’ A seriously lame paraphrase from Stephenson’s Snow Crash [I’m intentionally not opening my books, b/c, once opened, I’ll be there all night].
  • ‘Rich kids put their shoes on one foot at a time, where a kid who didn’t grow up that way, he’ll put both shoes on, then tie them.’ Another embarrasingly-bad misremembering from DFW’s Infinite Jest.

Yeah, there are individual lines from other books–from these guys’ books–that I’d rather have tattooed on me. But these, the first time I read them, they just felt exactly, perfectly right.

And yeah, it’s the 18th today–what Amazon has listed as Demon Theory‘s pub date. Trick is, though, that’s part of the marketing strategy: keep nudging that release back a bit more and a bit more, like that dance of the seven veils, except, of course, Demon Theory‘s wearing thirty-two veils, and an iron chastity belt. I expect it’s going to be perfect, though, all worth it.

Too, and unrelated to all of this, but possibly far more important: Lucky Number Slevin. Caught it today, and it was of course the blast I was expecting. However, for me, the absolute high-point of the whole deal was early on [I’ll try to not do any spoiling here], in the parking lot of that racetrack, the spread of classic, absolutely pristine and polished muscle cars was like–it was like all the planets had lined up to form an exclamation point or something. Wholly and absolutely freaked me out. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that many show-worthy cars in one place just by happenstance. Even in the malt-shops of my dreams. Too–and I could be wrong on this–but it seemed there was nothing after about 1972 parked there. Mostly I’m going by the one truck I remember, a Chevy or GMC–at the absolute latest, it’s a ’72. But the rest of the cars are all hovering right around 1969, it looks like (though, granted, Mustangs have never been my deal, so that could have been from ’70 and maybe even ’71 [though I doubt it–it looks too aggressive]). I mean, good grief, whatever car-club got called up to supply cars, seeing their rides up on-screen like that, it must have been, for them, pornography. For me, I guess, it was too: an impossible conjunction, but one I’m willing for the moment to buy, anyway. And want more of. But of course there is one unshiny car there–the one that’s involved in the movie. Maybe that’s how the director decided to foreground it, even. My kneejerk reaction, however, it had less to do with composition and more to do with suspecting that that ‘1979’ date maybe got added after the scene was shot. Simply because there’s none of the little wimpy non-muscle cars of the late ’70s there. Specifically, there’s no 1979 F-150, which, just because they’re so beautiful (think of one running through a grassy, dew-laden field at dawn), tend to get used a lot in the flashbacks of movies. I mean, for a while I was keeping a list, but soon ran out of paper. Now, for me, they’re as common as that loaf of French bread every grocery-shopping character is required to have just bought (I think my list started with that grey truck in THE MINUS MAN, and the two yellow ones in SMOKE SIGNALS [which are supposed to be the same truck, but c’mon–if you know trucks, you can kind of tell that they used different ones for different locations]). And yeah, of course, I’ve had a whole string of 79 Fords–the affair probably started with Uncle Jesse’s white fleetside/shortbed. My favorite year for them, ever. And no, that pretty blue Ford with the factory hubcaps in RAISING ARIZONA, it’s not a ’79; we never see the grille, I don’t think, but it has the look of a ’77, to me (which I’ve also had and loved and wrecked). But, for me, man, just put a ’79 F-whatever up in the background of some shot, and that movie’s suddenly and irrevocably worth the price of admission.

( wait–I just remembered there’s a Stingray in that parking lot, and, without a tape to watch them get longer and longer the closer they get to the L-82, I can’t tell a ’71 from a ’78, honestly. if it’s as perfect as the rest, though, it’s that ZR- or ZL- or Z-whatever 1, that had that aluminum block. of course, though, if Slevin was really interested in establishing that flashback as 1979, then what would have been absolutely necessary would have been a Trans Am with honeycomb rims, the t-tops stashed in the trunk. then float some Gerry Rafferty at us, and man, it’d be a moment I could stay in for the rest of the day… )

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