Monday, November 17, 2008

Did Roger Rabbit Save My Marriage?

It all started several years ago, when we made our final move from the military base to our new house. Mr. Lucky destroyed a bunch of old VHS tapes, many of which were movies he’d recorded years ago from rentals or off the TV. Most of them were never watched; those that were favored had long since been replaced by DVD. He broke them open and unfurled miles and miles of tape before flinging them into the garbage. Why he felt it necessary to do all that, he has never been able to explain (I suspect it’s some grunting macho guy thing), but it planted in the head of our firstborn, the Crown Prince, an idea that we have yet to exorcise.

The Crown Prince took to destroying VHS tapes we wanted very much to keep. I’m not talking the cheap recorded copies, where the lighting in the picture sort of blinks on and off and is occasionally punctuated by some garbled mess representing a commercial break. No, I mean movies we went to the store and purchased—like Disney cartoons that are only available for a limited time. As in the deluxe widescreen version of Lady and the Tramp. When it came out on DVD several years later, I snapped it up and since keep it under lock and key.

Later, in an effort to keep up with changing technology, he moved on to DVD’s. He’d remove the disc from the case, snap it in two, drop the pieces into the garbage, then return the case to the shelf with the other DVD’s. Neither Mr. Lucky nor I had the slightest clue until we wanted to watch a particular movie, and opened the box only to find it empty.

A bewildering pattern soon emerged. The Crown Prince had removed and destroyed the following movies: The Abyss, True Lies, Independence Day, Speed, Titanic, and The Sound of Music. All were produced and distributed by Twentieth Century Fox; three were directed by James Cameron. I was shocked, as I thought the Crown Prince liked all these movies except for The Sound of Music. In particular, Speed has everything he and Baby Bear love: Explosions, elevators, a bus, helicopters, police cars, jet aircraft, subway trains, and flying baby buggies full of aluminum cans.

The Crown Prince enjoyed Titanic, though every time we watched it and got to the part where Leo and Kate came into her stateroom to engage in a little artwork, I’d say, “Okay, I don’t think we need to see this,” and hit the skip button to the next chapter. After a while, he took the initiative and started hitting that skip button himself at the start of that same scene, and yes, he’d always say, “Okay, I don’t think we need to see this.”

Poor guy doesn’t know what he’s missing. I’m such a mom.

The following Christmas, Mr. Lucky gave me new editions of the DVD’s that had been destroyed. While it was very sweet of him, I sort of wish he hadn’t done it, as they were very expensive to replace. However, I must confess I did appreciate the replacement of The Sound of Music and Titanic, as those were my favorites, especially since he upgraded the latter to a beautifully boxed, three-disc deluxe collector’s edition.

Then came the day I wanted to introduce Baby Bear to the delights of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (I thought he might enjoy identifying with the atrocities of Baby Herman).

Empty. Gone. Destroyed. I was devastated, because that was another movie that was no longer available. It had been a very nicely boxed deluxe set, too.

That was several years ago, when the Crown Prince was still living at home. Then last weekend, he was staying with us for an overnight visit. All was well, until Mr. Lucky woke up Sunday morning and went into the kitchen, where he found some broken DVD pieces in the garbage.

For reasons unknown, the Crown Prince had selected North by Northwest and Airport for destruction. These were another two movies I thought he liked. Planes, trains, and Cary Grant; it doesn’t get any better than that.

But it got worse than that. Already Mr. Lucky was not too happy about this, but then I had to make a point of telling him that under no circumstances were those DVD’s to be replaced. I could live without them, or watch them when they showed up on Turner Classics.

We had a very big argument, and stopped speaking for a while.

Then yesterday, we were at Wal-Mart and happened to be walking by all the racks full of DVD’s when I spotted one lone copy of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I plucked it out and tossed it into the cart, telling Mr. Lucky, “We can replace that but no other.”

I’ll make exceptions for Disney cartoons—and Roger Rabbit qualifies—as those are as precious and rare as Faberge eggs. Only why do they have to be? It causes such grief.

The Crown Prince will be coming over for Thanksgiving next week, and I plan to hide away all the DVD’s.

Oh, and since finding Roger Rabbit, Mr. Lucky and I are speaking again.

Maybe I’ll do like Jessica Rabbit, and bake him a carrot cake.

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