As you may know, I try to start every post with some (potentially) relevant anecdote to the film I'm about to 'review'. I do this as a way for my kids to have a window into their father's life in case I'm not around to tell them myself. But when I look back at most of those tales, I see silly stories from a life played very safe. Perhaps, overly so. I'm that guy in the movie that's happy enough, but clearly isn't living his dream.
A little over a month ago, after trying to find an excuse not to do it, I decided to quit being such a wuss and finally do something I always wanted to do. While making out with Brad and Angelina would have been awesome, that wasn't it. Actually, my wife had heard about someone in Houlton, Maine (about an eleven an a half hour drive from my house) willing to give up their family business to whomever could write the best essay.
Naturally, this business was a movie theater. Not just any theater, but the theater. Set in a small picturesque town in the northeast corner of New England, the Temple Theater was a life-long dream I didn't even know I'd been having. Two screens, 400 seats, and an eight-bedroom apartment upstairs was infinitely more than I could have ever hoped for. I'm not religious, but that sounded like heaven.
And if I could combine a hundred bucks and two-hundred and fifty words, it would be mine.
Sadly, for whatever reason, and this sounds equal parts foolish and pathetic, I know, I really thought I was going to win.
Turns out...I never really had a chance.
See, the owner of the Temple needed around 3,500 entries. At a hundred bucks a pop, he could have given the theater to one lucky person and still sold it for the appraised $350,000 price tag. While 1 in 3,500 are terrible odds, let me remind you, this was taking place during that Powerball insanity where 1 in 300 million seemed doable. Hell, I just needed to beat out a couple of thousand jerks. Not every single person currently living in the United States. But when he failed to get enough entries, the whole thing was called off and everybody got their money back. No harm, no foul.
Not that it matters anymore, here was my entry into the Temple Theater essay contest. Enjoy.
|I was gonna straighten that handicapped parking sign.|
If you think about it, we are all just a collection of stories. Initially, we’re the story of how our parents met, but as we grow up, we create our own narrative based on where we’ve lived, who we are, and perhaps, what we’ve seen.
My story takes place at a movie theater. I’m there with my family – mom, dad, two older brothers, and we’re happily munching on buttery popcorn and watching the latest family film or goofball comedy (or the original Alien, which I’m assuming I liked…even if I was in the womb at the time).
As I got older, our parents stayed home, placing my brothers in charge of me. Well, I probably shouldn’t have seen some of those stories, eye-opening (and vocabulary-building) as they were.
Eventually, I was there on my own, seeing everything. Often with close friends, then without them, as they were (quietly) replaced by a girl I met in a Connecticut college and years later, I’d marry her. We would go as often as we could, not counting the years it took for two purchased tickets to become four.
I might not be the person you select to own your theater, but unknowingly, I have spent a life-time auditioning for the role. I’m honest, enthusiastic, dedicated and would love the Temple Theater as much as your family has. Movie theaters are vital to their community as they are a place where we come together to hear the best stories in the world.
As someone who reads poorly-written essays for a living, trust me, I understood and fully-appreciated the 250 word limit. But man, this was like writing a term-paper on Twitter. Brevity, like owning a movie theater, ain't my thing, clearly.
All bullshit aside though, it was pretty rad to be able to kick the idea around for a week or two. Like imagine having to pick the two movies your whole town gets to watch! Holy shit, right? What an insanely fantastic burden that would've been (Dude, Baywatch has been showing here for three months...what the shit is with this guy?). Ugh. Imagine that.
Well, time's up on that dream. Guess I'll have to keep teaching inner city middle school. Again. For like, the tenth year in a row. And if you can believe it, tomorrow I'm going to teach them persuasive writing of all things. Or...or...maybe I'll just enjoy my Friday and do something else with my students.
Like show a f--king movie.