getting to the bottom of r. p. mcmurphy

Driving alone gives me an opportunity to think. Sometimes it happens out loud. Other times I keep my thoughts in my head as the hill country runs as fast as it can away from me. I used to drive back and forth between Austin and Abilene, TX. If you ever had to make that drive you know that the road is segmented by small towns that act as speed traps slowing you further from arriving at your destination. And if your destination is Abilene- prolonging the inevitable. I believe the apocalypse will begin and end in Abilene, TX. For work I make the lofty jaunts to Luling and Burnett, TX- although I received a promotion and a stationary position recently I am still making these trips for the time being. When I stop I will miss them.

Driving alone gives me an opportunity to think.

Yesterday I was on exactly such a dive out through Marble Falls on my way to Highland Lakes Hospital in Burnett. Marble Falls, TX, or Bad MF as I dubbed it one hot and ferocious summer, holds the same place in my heart as an ex-girlfriend- I am her jilted lover. We see each other from time to time in passing and we make quaint conversation as my tires touch her road. I try to tread gently and not go down her well-worn drives so wont to cause memory after memory to drag their way into my conscious thought. I was a different young man in Bad MF. I was naive and thought I knew a lot. I learned humility and how to be humble in that city and its outskirts filled with farm roads, summer camps and cemeteries. Now I drive through as an adult and I respect her rolling hills and diving cliffs that seem to plunge into the bay. While she wasn’t somebody I could ever settle down with it is nice to see her and experience that first view as you crest the hill and her green-blue waters lay sprawled out before you.

One of my favorite films was on last night. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There is something about this adaptation that out strips the book in such a way that it takes on a life of its own. The book was a stark commentary on how we treated (still do in come cases) the mentally ill in America during the middle 1900’s. The movie was a sole commentary on how we end up fooling ourselves when we try to fool others. I am not a huge Nicholson fan unless he has on makeup, but his take on the ne’er do well R. P. McMurphy turned him from a tragic hero to more of just a human tragedy and the whole time you are witnessing the injustice of that society you see a man who in reality is doing all of this to himself. He has nobody to blame. It is solid and maddening and the type of thing you have to watch alone at just the right moment in life to truly get the subtle meaning of mental imprisonment.

It isn’t a popcorn movie.

Die Hard. That is a popcorn movie.

did you stand by me? not not at all. did you stand by me? no way.

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~ by mlvassallo on August 24, 2007.

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