Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Best Movie Weapons (And How I'd Use Them In Real Life)
When, from time to time, I get a little down or frustrated or bitter -- as I do every now and again, as I suppose we all do, especially when we realize that in a fit of hopefulness while our father-in-law was visiting last week, we talked our wife into joining one of those warehouse stores, at a cost of $105, but now, in the cold clear light of Tuesday, we've realized that really the savings aren't all that good, and we've realized, too, that 32 pouches of microwave popcorn is a lot of popcorn, when I get a little down about stuff like that, I like to cheer myself back up by thinking this:
Sure, that's annoying, but at least I've got the kind of life where I can spend Tuesday night buying an excessive amount of popcorn, playing with my kids, and then pondering just what movie weapons might make my life even better than it is.
Not many people have that kind of luxury, in this world, the kind of luxury that lets them sit in a house that is chock full o' popcorn and dream about movie props, and not just about movie weapons but how I'd use them in my life. So let's get on with it:
1. The lightsaber. If you're over 30, and male, there is only one obvious choice for number 1 Best Movie Weapon anywhere. (And if you're under 30, I don't care what you think, because you never experienced Star Wars first hand, so go wear flannel or mope or whatever it is young people do.)
Han Solo be damned: Hokey religions and ancient weapons are the stuff of which dreams are made for guys my age; we want an elegant weapon for a more elegant time, or whatever the actual quote is. We want to thumb a button and hear that swerkwarcsh and then wave the saber around and hear it buzz and rumble in the air.
But.. then what? I mean, yeah, it's cool and all, but after the first few minutes of slicing through the couch and shaving the cats and all, what're you going to do then, leave the lightsaber in the closet, alongside the bagpipes Sweetie bought you and the telescope that used to be there until you sold it at a rummage sale and the racquetball racquet?
Doesn't it seem kind of silly to say "racquetball racquet?" It's too much racquet, which is a hard word to type, too -- my fingers don't want to put that c in front of the q. Probably 'cause it's kind of a French word.
Anyway, I know what I would do with the lightsaber, which is good because it means that even though stormtroopers and gundarks are in short supply in Wisconsin, I'd have a use for one if someone gives it to me (hint, hint, Sweetie). And what I'd do with it is:
Trim the grass and hedges.
Seriously. Every single year we have to buy a new weed trimmer, because those have a half-life of about 30 seconds in my hands. One year, I burnt out the engine on one trying to trim the grass near a Yucca plant. Another year I wrecked one trying to whack down weeds near some rocks in the yard. This year's model flung the weed-guard off at me and nearly de-ankled me.
And our hedge trimmer has blades that are too dull to cut the branches of the evergreens and lilacs -- but sharp enough to hack right into the extension cord and nearly electrocute me.
A lightsaber would solve all those problems. No extension cord, no motors, no moving parts. Just thumb the switch, swerkwarcsh, and I'm getting rid of those clumps of grass that grow between the bricks in the path. I can stab it in between the rocks, I can slice down a whole row of lilacs if I want. It'd be perfect.
2. The Terminator: Number two, in terms of sheer usefulness, has to be the original Terminator. Forget the later Terminators -- they all had the fatal flaw of being machines that wanted to kill humans and couldn't learn to love. But the original Terminator wasn't just a cold-hearted machine that existed only to kill. No, Original Terminator (T-1000?) could be programmed to love people (proving the Geekologie writer's fears to be unfounded, at least in part.) And that makes it a great weapon -- and one that is useful in my life, too. Here's how:
I'm not good at discipline. I mean to be good at discipline, and I used to be good at discipline, but I no longer am. There was a time in my life when seeing the ketchup sitting on its side, on the wrong shelf, in the refrigerator, would have set me off on a tirade of lectures and threats and punishments and extra chores. But I've grown softer over the years. Mr F and Mr Bunches have been responsible for most of it, but I've eased up on the older kids, too. The Boy is supposed to be doing extra homework this summer for getting bad grades to finish up last school year -- but sometimes, his homework is blogging about movies he likes. Even he said it's easy.
The Original Terminator, then, could stand in for me. When I go to cook dinner and I open up the cupboard to realize that every single pan and dish and bowl and, improbably, the cups, too, have been stacked into one unwieldy pile on one side of the cabinet and they all come spilling out and I know I should make The Boy or Middle or someone do something about it, but I just sigh and pick it up and go back to making pizza, then Original Terminator could step in and have Original Terminator discipline them for me.
"Original Terminator," I'd say, and send him off on his mission of vengeance, so that he could, say, teleport back in time and dress himself in all that leather and kick in our kitchen door as The Boy is mis-loading the dishes in the dishwasher or not putting the couch cushions back on correctly, and he could fire a few warning shots -- they'd be warning shots because Original Terminator loved humans -- from his shotgun over The Boy's head and say something cool like "Pick up your shoes from the front hall, or I'll BE BACK," and then disappear.
3. That ghost trapping thing from Ghostbusters. I can't for the life of me remember what it was called, but we all know what it was: The backpack that captured ghosts and shot them into a tiny box, and if you crossed the streams you'd... well, you'd restore normalcy to the world, as it turns out, wouldn't you? They said something bad would happen but when they did it, the entire world turned right again.
The Ghost Trapping Thing wouldn't just be useful in movies where there are ghosts and weird naked ladies strutting around; it would be useful in my life, too, namely, for picking up after the Babies!
We buy the Babies! toys. We buy them lots of toys. And movies. And books. And more toys. But the Babies! don't play with any of those things. They tear the pages out of books and throw them at each other, and the cats. They read the DVD covers, and walk around carrying the DVDs. And they play with dust mops, refrigerator magnets, chairs, the computer keyboard, anything they can get their hands on, provided what they can get their hands on is not a toy.
That means that we're constantly picking up after the Babies!, a task that is more futile than it sounds because not only will they make a mess again in 10 minutes, but that mess is as likely to be a mess made of a cereal box, and old battery, one shoe that I no longer wear, and three hickory nuts taken in from the back yard. So I find myself picking up trash, over and over. Or worse, like tonight when Mr F decided it would be amusing to try to stand in the cats' water dish, only to realize he couldn't, and stumble, spilling the water all over and only nanoseconds later, spilling the cat food all over, all of which made a horrendous mess in the kitchen, a mess I had to alternate between sweeping and mopping, trying to mop up the water that was brownishly spreading over the kitchen floor (turning green when it hit the marker-drawn picture that Mr Bunches had helpfully thrown into it) while also trying to sweep up the cat food before more water got into it, making more brown mess, all of which delayed our first- and last-ever trip to the warehouse store to buy 32 pouches of popcorn and then realize that we didn't really need that much.
With the Ghostbuster pack, though, I wouldn't even worry about it. Just flick the switch, point that gun thing, and faster than you can say SHRZZZZZOOOOPP (the sound they made), the mess is sucked into the beam and then directed over to the little box, which is then shut and put away.
Tell me your Roomba is better than that.
4. Those flying saucer things from The Incredibles. Maybe scientists need to get out of their ivory towers and watch some movies once in a while. That's what I think everytime I watch The Incredibles, which I do a lot because sometimes it's the only way to keep the Babies! out of the cat dishes.
If scientists watched The Incredibles, and other movies (like those on this list) they'd quit doing useless things like pretending velociraptors actually existed or making flu vaccines, and instead get around to inventing personal flying saucers like the ones the bad guys had in The Incredibles.
Have you seen these things? They're awesome. One man deals, they fly up, down, forward, backward, and in any direction you'd want, plus their whirling edges cut down any trees that happen to get in your way.
I know what you're thinking: You'd want that to avoid your daily commute, right? But you're wrong. I'm sure that'd come in handy, but that's not why I want it.
I'd want it just to tool around in.
5. The Bubble Tower With The Fan From Willy Wonka's Factory: I'll just say it: I'm not big on houseguests. I don't like people coming over and I really don't like pop-in visitors. But how can I just out and say that? I can't. I should be able to, because it seems wrong that I am considered rude for telling you I don't want you to just drop in whenever you feel like it, but you are not considered rude for just dropping in whenever you feel like it. Who came up with that rule?
The Bubble Tower With Fan gets around all that society and manners and socializing and friends junk. If I had the Bubble Tower With Fan, and you popped in at a time I didn't want visitors (which is, again, pretty much all the time), I'd welcome you in, take your coat, and offer you something to drink, and then I'd say:
"Come on, make yourself at home. Here. Enjoy my bubble tower with fan, while I go get you that beer."
Then I'd hang out long enough to make sure that you took a few bubbles and floated up to the ceiling and were nearly chopped up and then hiccoughed your way back down to safety (I'd ensure that by putting a sign near the top and saying If you can read this, start burping!) and then I'd meet you at the bottom, and give you a disapproving stare, and you'd feel so guilty that you'd just head out anyway -- and I would have nicely turned the societal tables on you, because it was you who broke social courtesies, not me.
And I'd make you give back the everlasting gobstopper.
But I might let you take some microwave popcorn with you. Does that stuff go bad? I don't know where to put it all.