01 February 2010

The Collector

That would be me. Pop culture obsessive that I am, over time, I've amassed a sizable collection of media--books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, even LPs (the result, I must admit, of perhaps one too many, slightly inebriated late-night viewings of High Fidelity). While some people may consider this collection to be borderline excessive (some people, read: my wife), to me it is average, possibly even pedestrian.

In some ways, this collection exists merely to make me appear more hip, cultured, interesting--as much as it is for my leisure-time enjoyment. Of course, these items have now been put into service to a new end: playthings for my son.

As I previously reported, my son's first DVD, The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, now co-exists on a shelf with all of his father's films. Somewhere along the line, he's developed an intense, focused, obsessive fascination with those movies (perhaps an inherited character trait) and has taken to destroying their precisely calibrated organization on a daily basis.

Side note: in addition to being a compulsive collector, I am a notorious stickler for rules, guidelines, and all manner of cohesive organization. Films arranged in alphabetical order (except for boxed sets, in their own special section), CDs also in alphabetical order by band name or last name of artist--then chronological by album release year, books by size and then by subject matter or type. LPs, see CDs.

It really is exhausting being me.

"They used to call me Anal Girl . . I was very neat and organized." (I'm totally pulling for Neustadter and Weber to win the Original Screenplay Oscar for (500) Days of Summer. Nominations tomorrow.)

Anyway, so my son is quite keen on disrupting the orderliness of my DVD collection. It offers endless amusement for him. He intently examines all the packages, the pictures, the words. He's mesmerized.

A few observations:

Our son thinks that Minnie Driver on the cover of Good Will Hunting looks like his mother. He points to the image and says, "Mama." When shown the exact same actress with only a slightly different hairstyle on the cover of Grosse Pointe Blank, he does not have the same reaction. However, he will often point to a clearly doctored photograph of the actress Parminder Nagra on the back of Bend It Like Beckham, outfitted in traditional Indian garb and kicking a soccer ball in mid-air, and refer to this actress as "Mama." Strange.

His discovery that there is a "dead deer" on the back cover of Tommy Boy provoked insane amounts of glee. By the by, we own this modern-day classic because my wife, who often chides me about my failure so far in life to have seen a single film by Fellini, Antonioni, or Godard, and who insists The Bicycle Thief is her favorite film--loves it. Loves it.

He has, at various times, referred to Jason Schwartzman, Paul Giamatti, and John Cusack as "Dada." None of these three looks anything like the other. And none of them looks like me.

We have managed to teach him to recognize Jeff Bridges on the cover of The Big Lebowski and say, "Dooo!" Perhaps our single proudest moment as parents so far.

He is particularly fascinated by Boogie Nights. Gotta remember to hide that one . . .

This activity was amusing perhaps the first 20 times he did it. But now I would just like it to end. I don't contend well with disorder. Chaos. Somebody should've warned me about what kids are like. Seriously.

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