Three months ago, my grandson Bryce became a certified skydiver.
I wish I could tell you that his goals were altruistic. Like maybe wanting to drop behind enemy lines and single-handedly win the war, or rescue desperate flood-bound victims, or bring the toys and goodies when Santa gets snowbound. No, none of the above.
Bryce has two passions in life to kill for. (He told me one time that that expression is really “to die for” and that the reason I corrupt it is because of my passive aggressive personality. I can still remember when he used to say things like “I wuv you, Gwamma”.)
Anyway, the two activities he could kill or die for, take your pick, are travel and movies.
Of all the travelers in this family, Bryce is the most enthusiastic. If it’s a country, he’s probably been in it. He may have logged almost as many air miles as my nephew Tim, who himself must own a good share of Jetblue Airline by now.
Bryce’s second passion is movies, movies, movies. If it’s been on the silver screen since 1990 or so, Bryce has probably seen it and can recite its name, rank, serial number, producer, director, starring and supporting actors, costume designer, makeup artist, prop master, catering service, – you get the idea.
Bryce has actually cranked out a few movies himself. The first movie he produced was an action-packed 3 minute thriller called “The Run” . This was a collaborative effort with his cousin Sonja when they were both about 11 or 12 years old.
Bryce and Sonja toiled over their masterpiece for days. When at last it was ready for its first screening, they planned to invite hundreds of people. Maybe a movie critic or two. They were going to print posters and serve free popcorn. They were going to sign autographs.
And then Bryce’s mother – my daughter Gretchen – found out. Gretchen demanded to have a preliminary viewing, and immediately afterwards, the movie was confiscated.
It was devastating. Bryce and Sonja were crushed that their Academy Award had been so cruelly snatched from their grasp. They pleaded and argued but Gretchen was adamant. No X-rated movie was ever going to be shown to the rest of the cousins and that’s all there is to it. There was no reasoning with her.
It wasn’t foul language or nudity or explicit sex scenes that got it blacklisted. The kids had made the catastrophic error of using a toy gun as a prop. To this day, Gretchen doesn’t know where it came from and she’s still looking for it. Gretchen does not approve of firearms.
Personally, I was on the kids’ side. You can’t make an edgy action flick about a robber and expect him to be armed with a licorice whip. That’s why I secretly stored a copy of the movie in my clandestine files. You can always count on Grandma. And someday, once all the cousins have reached the age of 21, they can all sit down and enjoy this truly rewarding movie experience.
It took Bryce and Sonja a long time to forgive Gretchen for destroying their hopes for an Oscar. It was only when she agreed to appear in their next movie that peace was restored.
They called the new one “Movieman and Popcorn Girl”. Included in the cast of characters, besides Bryce and Sonja, was Bryce’s mom and dad, brother Ford, sister T.T., cousins Colleen and Josie, friend Michael, Uncle Matt, and Grandpa Gene and me.
And here it is for your viewing pleasure.
I hope you had time to watch it. It helps explain how fixated Bryce is on movies.
Because he has to watch every movie that comes out, he doesn’t have time to watch any of them a second time. (Unless it’s one like “Inception”. “Inception” is a layered movie. You have to see it two or three times before you can figure out what the hell is going on.)
Whenever Bryce is exposed to a movie he’s seen before, he just gets up and walks out.
That’s where the skydiving comes in. As soon as they start the in-flight movie, if he finds it’s one he’s seen before, – even if he hasn’t finished his Pepsi and peanuts, he just walks to the airplane door, opens it and jumps out.