In the summer of 1995, I should've been outside a lot more. I should've been out in the woods, climbing trees, playing in the creek, getting muddy. I should've been riding my bike down a hill and jumping it over the side of an embankment, or getting into trouble like boys do. I mean, don't get me wrong, I did all of those things at some point that summer, I'm sure. But I spent a good portion of those long, summer days watching Forrest Gump. I watched it everyday for about a month straight, and sometimes I'd get to the end of the film, rewind it, and watch again.
I miss the days of the sticker on the outside of the rental that said "Be Kind, Please Rewind." And when you first popped the movie into the VCR, there was that two to three minutes of intense anticipation as you had to fast-forward through the previews, hardly able to stand the wait. Now, there's not even the need to go to the video store (which are quickly disappearing from the landscape), much less to rewind. But I digress.
I've never actually met anyone over the age of 15 that hasn't seen it. And I'm not surprised. It comes on TNT almost monthly, and usually at least twice back-to-back. But, it's immensely popular even 18 years after it's initial release. It really travels a roller-coaster of emotion: there are hilarious, quotable moments throughout, there are deeply sorrowful moments, and even a few that make you angry. It has something for everyone.
And then there's Forrest Gump, the protagonist in the story. His ignorance can be infuriating at times. Like how he continuously lets Jenny back into his life, despite the little respect she shows for someone who is always there for her. But the unflappable devotion he shows to her, Lieutenant Dan, his mother, and Bubba (even in death) is impossible not to envy. The way he traverses through the most tumultuous time in American history, totally oblivious and innocent to the events taking place around him, makes Forrest Gump incredibly endearing. Sure, he faces adversity and sadness like everyone else, but he finds happiness and fulfillment in the simplest of things (running cause he "felt like runnin'" or mowing the local Greenbow High football field). I guess ignorance really is bliss.
The point is, you really can't judge a book by it's cover. On the surface, he's just a stupid, overly-talkative weirdo in old shoes. But, if you listen to him speak, you hear an incredible story of hardship, success, hate, and love.
I wish I were more like that. Adrienne and I often catch ourselves making fun of people we see at the mall or a restaurant based solely on the way they look. It may be an atrocious get-up they have on, or wild hair, or bad parenting on display for the world to see ("Just hang on until I get my margarita!"). But, we do it without knowing a single thing about those total strangers. Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own quirks. Everyone has their own faults, and everyone has their own strengths.
Just like everyone else, I have my own odd, quirky, and even weird guilty pleasures that I would never admit to a stranger. But, today, I am going to expose a bit of my dark side to the four people that may actually read this. Keep in mind, this is far from comprehensive list:
-I dance a lot. Even if people are watching. And while I actually do have rhythm, I go out of my way to dance extremely "white."
-I may not always act like it, but I'm fairly easily embarrassed. One of my defense mechanisms is to try to make people laugh, especially if it's at my own expense. It deflects the attention away from whatever embarrassed me in the first place.
-I like to run errands on my days off. Not all the time, because that'd be silly, but about once a month when I get a random weekday off, I like going to Wal-Mart, the bank, getting a haircut, or stopping by the car wash. It makes me feel productive, even if I wasted an entire day off by doing a bunch of things when I could've just relaxed.
-I still watch reruns of Full House when I catch it on TV. Don't lie...If you grew up in the 90s, you watched Full House. And you liked it.
-I constantly outline objects with my eyes. Sometimes I'll catch myself actually drawing it in the air with my finger. It might be the outline of the TV, a design on the side of a building, or the frame of every pair of glasses I ever see. And the key is to try to outline the object without ever breaking the line or retracing any part of the line.
-I look up all sorts of weird things on Wikipedia. I can't even offer examples, because there's literally no rhyme or reason to it.
-I take sports ENTIRELY too seriously, especially Kentucky Basketball and Cardinals Baseball. It is probably taking years off my life.
-I rinse and repeat at least three times. Every time.
-Before the days of the internet, I would sit next to my stereo and listen to a song and write down the lyrics as I went through. Sometimes it'd take an hour or more because I'd have to stop. Rewind. Play again. Stop. Write down a few words. Rewind. Play again to double-check. Fix mistakes. Rewind. Play again. Then, I'd listen to the song ten or fifteen times until I memorized the lyrics. I did this a lot.
-I will drive 10 miles out of my way to avoid stop lights.
-I have the same voice for babies, dogs, cats, or any other cute and cuddly object. And not only do I pretend to talk AS those things, I will have on-going conversations as them. What's worse, when I'm at home alone with Kirby, I will talk to him and respond back to me as Kirby. It's borderline schizophrenic.
So...Hardly a comprehensive list, I know. I realize I didn't offer too many outrageous revelations, and if there's some I most certainly left out, I'm sure I can count on you to remind me of them. I encourage you to comment with your own quirky behaviors that not everyone may know about, as well. And try to remember, things are not always what they seem. And to practice what you preach.