Sunday, April 04, 2010

Clash of the Clashes

When I was a boy of maybe 13 years old, I did something bad. I forged the grades on my junior high report card. I fudged Fs to As, Ds to Bs. Not particularly artfully, either, given that I was a boy of maybe 13 years old. So my parents quickly discovered my lawbreaking and punished me in the matter they saw fit.

I was to stay in my room for an entire summer. Draconian, you say? Sure. My father was old school and brooked no bullshit. I was an ungrateful whelp who knew nothing of hardship, he would say. And he was right, given that he was born and raised in Haiti. He knew nothing but hardship...which is why he left. Anyway.

I was punished for the summer. No outside, no TV, no visits from friends. In retrospect, that time indoors reinforced my love of reading -- and I had nothing to do but read. And so I did. One of the few places I could go was the library, where I devoured all they had of Conan novels -- my first exposures to Asimov, Herbert, and Ellison came that summer. But even as I watched day turn into night and my friends head out to play and back for dinner, the thing I wanted most wasn't to join them. I wanted to watch Clash of the Titans.

It was premiering on HBO that summer. June, I believe. I was a sucker for Greek mythology, and wanted to see it terribly. But I couldn't. No TV. So it came and it went. As did the summer. The strictness of my confinement would ease before school started; even my father realized that he was being a little too strict.

The weekend before school started, the old man sat me down and asked me, as he did during every week of my punishment, if I'd learned my lesson. And, as I did every week, I told him yes. But this time, he handed me a videocassette. I put it in the VCR, pressed play, and smiled like an idiot as Clash of the Titans popped on the screen. He taped it for me three months prior. Because, through it all, he was still my dad.

So while I understand that the Harry Hamlin Clash of the Titans is a honking piece of cheeseball shite, I've got a love for it that can't be diminished by such a petty thing as quality.