It is inevitable. Whenever J goes out shopping and there is a video department at the store, he goes looking for the same movies. We recently did an inventory of all the movies in his binders, and his pattern is pretty consistent. He loves Alice in Wonderland, A Bug’s Life, The Brave Little Toaster, The Great Mouse Detective…
No sooner do any of these get the smallest scratch that J goes and replaces them. He doesn’t jettison the scratched one. He keeps it much like Beth March does old dolls in Little Women. The movie is scratched, split, cracked, slightly bruised…it doesn’t matter. J puts it where it used to be stored before its accident, misfortune, illness, infirmity, and gets a new one to use in its place.
This, I have to wholeheartedly admit, is one of his most irritating habits. We don’t get it. We know it’s part of how his brain works, but it irritates us nonetheless. We play along. We replace the movie. From time to time we make a concerted effort to persuade him to toss out the broken, split, bruised, scratched, marred one. From time to time, very rarely…once in the bluest of blue moons, he plays along and says goodbye to an old, infirm friend.
We’ve gone through this with everything: Beauty and the Beast, A Charlie Brown Christmas, We’re Back! A Dinosaur Story, every single Toy Story movie, every single The Land Before Time movie (especially The Great Valley Adventure because he loves The Roches’ songs), and so on and so forth.
However, from among these, there is one movie that is especially singled out for replacement even when replacement is unnecessary…
Lord Jesus help us, we buy FernGully: The Last Rain Forest every single time we find it at the store.
It has become, by now, a running joke in our little household that Ray Liotta’s voice can be heard whispering “if you stock it, he will buy it!!!!” We are single-handedly feeding the vicious cycle that is a store’s inventory: go through the list, mark what you have and what has sold, and if that ONE COPY of that ONE MOVIE sold, restock it.
We have considered when going shopping at stores that stock this DVD, sending a search party ahead to locate the ONE COPY and somehow hide it. Our recon missions might, however, seem suspicious to Loss Prevention and we might end up getting pulled into a back office to explain away our particular situation. The thought of this is not particularly enjoyable: you see, sir, our son…well, he’s I’d guess you would call it obsessed???? He ALWAYS buys FernGully and if you look at your recent inventory lists you will see that it gets consistently restocked even though it’s not one of the most popular movies made in 1991…that honor would go to Aladdin…which he also buys as frequently as he can…if you’d like to come to our house and look at his embarrassment of riches when it comes to movies you would understand that we were not trying to ABSCOND with FernGully, but rather were attempting to NOT have to BUY it AGAIN????
There are things that are hard to explain, and this particular obsession is one of them. Why FernGully? At $4.99 a pop (on average) it’s not a huge expense, but at maybe 15 copies by now, it’s a ludicrous one. All the other movies cost more, and we try to explain to him that he doesn’t need another copy. There are some movies that create a true crisis when they do crack, split, get bruised, won’t play properly because they are scuffed… Those movies we have backups for, and we are unrepentant about this.
The list of classics that cannot possibly be out of circulation because they cause him deep distress are Melody Time, Make Mine Music, The Three Caballeros, Saludos, Amigos!, Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Fun and Fancy Free and anything that has Johnny Appleseed in it… Those I have a secret stash of, and I am not ashamed to admit it. A few weeks ago his Walt Disney’s Timeless Tales Volume 2 wouldn’t play and I, while J looked over my shoulder and breathed anxiously into my ear, had to search high and low on Amazon until I found it…used…for about $25. Dear reader, I bought it…I would do it again, too.
If you could have witnessed the look of relief and peace that took over J’s expression when the package arrived, and how happy he was when he sat down to watch The Country Cousin over and over again for the next couple of hours, you would understand why I cave… These are, we figure, his friends and companions, and while he has a vast selection of movies, there are some of those where his nearest, dearest, most trusted and most soothing friends and companions can be found.
The real world is ready and available to J, and he partakes of its joys and activities as often as he is comfortable. Last Saturday, for example, he went to lunch with us at his favorite French restaurant here in town. We went early and left walking in the direction opposite to the Christmas tree lighting event taking place at the shopping mall. We knew J wanted an outing, and we knew the tree lighting thing would be too much. J was very happy and enjoyed his meal greatly, and then he was ready to come home.
J likes going to the Mexican bakery so on the way home we stopped there. The parking lot was full of vehicles, and J decided he didn’t want to get out. I could have said “you MADE us come here”, but instead I said, “wait with Dada, and I’ll be right back.” I came back to the car with a bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola and his favorite bread to last him throughout the week. He was happy, and he was ready to come home.
We adjust. We tweak. We accept. We move forward.
Every time we go to the store and buy FernGully (or The Brave Little Toaster) the cashier says “I used to LOVE this movie when I was younger!!! I had it on VHS and I watched it so much it broke!!!” I am always tempted to say “you should buy it on DVD! Tell your nearest and dearest! Tweet to your friends and contemporaries! We BEG you!!!” I never do. We’ve got a one-man cult following going. Why mess with a good thing?
Once in a while, a very small royalty check arrives at the offices of whatever representatives the players in this movie have. They look at the meager amount that its made for -or maybe they just wait until it reaches a certain number before they hand it out to them…who knows?- and they ask themselves “FernGully? Who could possibly be buying this movie????”
Call it our (teeny-tiny, extremely) little gift to them. A little pixy dust in royalties. We just hope they never think “you know, this thing is SELLING! Maybe we should do a fan convention or something of the sort?” There J would stand…alone in a crowd that suddenly remembered they love this movie and don’t own it. He’d be overwhelmed by them, and we’d have to leave while they surge forward to shake the hands of Samantha Mathis, Christian Slater, Cheech AND Chong, Tone Loc, Tim Curry and representatives from the estate of the late, great Robin Williams…
Of all the movies in the world, J’s hyperfocused on FernGully.