Friday, January 27, 2006

It Took Him TWENTY YEARS!!!!

A while back, I was working at a bar.

Busying myself with the stereotypical bartender things (Absent mindedly cleaning a glass, while making sure the towel across my shoulder was at the regulation 2.7 degrees from vertical), I overheard a conversation.

It’s one of the funny things about being a bartender. Not only do you have that ‘Urban Oracle’ mystique (people tell you their troubles, and things that no-one should ever hear, ever, under any circumstances…despite the fact you don’t actually know them), you also become part of the furniture.

People walk into that bar and see you every single day. This means you either develop a sort of pseudo-friendship, or you become a highly sophisticated beer serving machine in their eyes.

So I was standing behind the bar, holding the glass I was holding up to the light to check for water-spots, when I overheard the following:

“I saw a great film last night, Alf, I taped it, if you wanna borrow it.”

“What’s it called?”

“It was called ‘The Shawshank Redemption’”

“Doesn’t sound like my sort of thing, what’s it about?”

At this point in my life, I wasn’t just a bartender, I was also a student, with two years of English Language, Literature and Film Studies under my belt. If asked this question, I would have replied:

“It’s about a man who is wrongly convicted for the murder of his wife, and his adjustment from white collar life to maximum security prison. The film is ultimately about how, despite all odds, the human spirit can overcome all odds, and that although they imprisoned his body, they never broke his mind. It also charts the burgeoning friendship between him and the other inmates, and how his influence enriched their lives, and how his constant and unbending will to never give up left the people he came into contact with better off for his presence.”

Okay, okay, I know, a little pretentious, and much more at home in a thesis than a bar. I probably wouldn’t have actually said that, but I’d have ‘sold’ the film in a similar way. Maybe:

“Ok, this guy gets locked up for something he didn’t do, but manages to make friends with some of the other guys in there. He goes through some serious shit, and I don’t want to give away the ending, but he manages to pull a fast one on everyone…you don’t see it coming.”

If you’ve seen the Shawshank Redemption, you know it’s a fairly difficult film to explain. That’s roughly what I would have said…but lets go back to the bar:

“…what’s it about?”

“Alright, get this! This guy gets locked up in jail, and he tunnels his way out, but it takes him about (dramatic pause) TWENTY YEARS!”

Yup, The Shawshank Redemption is a film about a tunneler, who likes to take his time.

I had to laugh, almost as hard as the time the 350lb guy, who came into the bar and drank about 7 pints of Guinness every single day, complained because he didn’t know why he was so fat. I pointed out that the Guinness might have something to do with it, but was laughed at because ‘everyone knows you can’t get fat from a drink’.

I wondered what happens to these people. You know, The people who constantly, and entirely, miss the point. Recently I found out:

They write the program descriptions for TV Guide.


rayray said...

Ok, so, one time, I saw this movie where these guys were flying around in space, and like this one guy kissed this girl, who like turned out to be his sister.............his SISTER DUDE.
And then the girl got all dressed up in this sexy bikini like thing and killed this giant slug................GIANT SLUG!
And then, get this........INDIANA JONES is flying around with a huge monkey......MONKEY I TELL YA.
Oh yea, and there's robots, and lazers, and glowing swords and shit.
It's pretty cool.

I highly recommend renting it sometime if you haven't seen it yet.

MC Etcher said...

Great story! In France, The Shawshank Redemption was known as 'L'Homme Creusant Lent De Tunnel'