I am in love with Books, but I've been cheating on them with Movies my entire life. When I need some excitement, I tell Book I've got a headache until it falls asleep on the shelf next to my bed, then I sneak into the kitchen to make popcorn and finger my romantic-comedy collection. Cinema has always captivated me as books do now, but looking back, it was their common denominator, words, that had me hooked.
I first realized that I am a word-whore, grinding on anything with punctuation and emotion, thanks to my older brother (fondly known as "butt" or "buddy", I haven't used his real name in years). Like any siblings less than 2 years apart, we fought viciously. He was my nemesis. I was 'Luke' to his 'Darth', joined forever by the bonds of family but secretly wishing the other would walk in a steaming pile of yellow dog logs when they least expect it. (The really smelly kind that gush into your shoes and refuse to wash off.) From ages four to fourteen our sole purpose in life was to make the other:
c) cry while bleeding.
Despite our mutual love/hate relationship I have him to thank for my epiphany. When I was ten my mother decided it was time for us to take a trip across the US to visit our family on the west coast. She naively thought that it would be lovely to do this by car; for which my only explanation is that she'd never been in the car with us for more than an hour.
We, her adorable offspring, started out the trip happily coloring, doing MadLibs and playing 'I spy', but the fun and games didn't last. We were bloodthirsty. Before making it out of state we were already "pretend fighting"; which consisted of slapping each other on the face repeatedly until for some reason one of us, (usually me), begins to find it less amusing, gets angry and tries to remove the eyeball of their opponent. About the time we hit the Illinois border, the scratching, kicking and screaming had come to such a pitch that my father began delivering his well practiced line: "You're laughing now, but you'll be crying soon!!". And someone, (usually me), always did. It was meant to be a warning which was correct 99% of the time; but being annoying, sugar-loaded, ferocious beasts, Butt and I would sarcastically mouth "you'll be crying soon" at each other in perfect synchronization with Papastrodamus and then, of course, try to get in a last slap.
The only way they got us to stop fighting was through the "mocks". We would re-enact our favorite movie lines from Ghost Busters to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and as if the hand of God himself was poised to backhand us across the cheek, we managed to behave like human children for a short time. I dare say that “Oooh look, I think my testicles are dropping” is not the sweetest line to come giggling out of a red-headed ten-year-old’s mouth, but if it kept us from drawing blood my parents were willing to sacrifice a little of my innocence. Butt would start it off, and being the pretentious little know-it-all that I was, I'd tell him he was all wrong and correct him word-for-word, reciting verbatim the correct script that I'd memorized perfectly. I knew even then that I was addicted to words, not love. Sorry Mr. Palmer. I couldn't stand it if even one word was replaced by its (evil) twin, knowing deep down that the right word was sitting in the back of my mind like a buried treasure, waiting to be unearthed. That, and it also gave me a reason to make Butt feel retarded. What little sister can resist that?