The Tao of the M&M

I’m that Tired Guy, the one fast-forwarding the past so the future has something to keep it occupied.  I’m that Tired Guy proposing old ideas to new friends who are content to smile and nod and pretend they understand.

The Tired Guy’s got himself a new gig.  Ok well it’s actually a month old and since I haven’t written anything in this space in awhile I suppose I owe my five loyal fans a sincere apology.

Sorry gang.

The ideas percolate, the mind is willing but the body is fat and lethargic and full of too many carbs to get the words right.  But exercising the brain would burn some of that malaise and tonight is THE night.

I think.

Chocolate.

The word generates images of all manner of oral fixations not the least of which involve cartoon characters masticated by real life models.

Mmmmm…mastication…it sounds so *dirty*.

You know I never
I  never seen you look so good
You never act the way you should
But I like it
And I know you like it too
The way that I want you
I gotta have you
Oh yes, I do

But I’m not here to talk about my predilections.

No sir.  That’s a different kind of bias.

No tonight I’ll touch briefly on real M&Ms.

Magic and memory.

Recently The New Boss (not to be confused with The Boss aka Mrs. Tired Guy) pointed out something incredibly simple yet decidedly, epically profound.

(Have I mentioned I love my new gig?)

We had a discussion regarding one of the pillars of epic science fantasy – Star Wars.

Now I won’t go into my deep, abiding love / hate relationship with this particular universe.  Instead I’ll provide some color to keep things straight.

One of my Favorite Movies of All Time ™, a film that will always fall within The Pantheon of Awesomeness ™, and shall remain a part of The Top Five ™ is The Empire Strikes Back.  For various and sundry reasons I adore this film, from standing in a long line with my brother and father somewhere around Boston to catch it, the emotions it engendered as a rabid fan at age 10 (and still to this day at age 29…ok 39…ok post-40), the music, the dialogue, the story, the toys, the mythos, the ethos, the Athos, Porthos and Aramis, pretty much THE WHOLE DAMN MOVIE BEFORE IT WAS RUINED BY THAT IDIOT LUCAS WITH HIS STUPID NEED TO SELF-FLAGELLATE THE WHOLE DAMN…breathe Tired Guy….breathe….BREATHE….

Ok, you get the idea.

Anyway I mentioned to The New Boss that I do not recognize Episodes I – III (::vomit::) as part of the Star Wars phenomena and possess a modicum of hope (help me Obi-wan!) the Corporation Formerly Known As The Company Not Engaged In Monopolizing Comic Book Characters or Pirates and Was Previously More Beloved For Its Children Only Content will somehow develop stand-alone films that can somehow surpass the wretched crap foisted upon us by The Previous Owner of A Once Beloved Franchise That Died In 1999, The Year Episode I Was Released.

The New Boss graced me with his customary infectious big grin and commented simply on the fact his kids loved Episodes I – III.

Biting back the bile bursting from my belly (GAWD I LOVE ALLITERATION!!!) I tried very hard not to launch into a two-hour tirade of how bad those films were.  Instead (and wisely because, after all, this is The New Boss and I kinda need to remain employed) I listened intently to what he said next.

“It’s like The Lord of the Rings movies for me (Editor’s Note: I despise those movies too but for different reasons).  I took my kids to see The Hobbit and we all LOVED it!  My daughter thinks it’s the greatest movie ever made!”

I almost fainted.  Swallowing my resolve I listened quietly, arms clasped tightly, white-knuckled fingers digging bloody tracks into my flesh.

He must’ve noticed because with a twinkle in his eye he then said, “The point is you love the original Star Wars films and I happen to love The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  These movies are like M&Ms.  You love M&Ms because they’re chocolate.  It doesn’t matter what color the shell is…it’s still chocolate.  So even if you don’t like Episodes I – III it’s still Star Wars man.  When the new film comes out, you’ll go see it, you’ll either love it or hate it.  But you’ll go see it.  Because it’s Star Wars.”

I exhaled.

And then I laughed.

He was right.

In our office one of the assistants has a bowl constantly brimming with M&Ms.  Everyone wanders by at some point and grabs a few.  Oh sure it’s fattening and chocolate and we pretend to watch our waistlines as if they’ll shrink by force of will alone, but the truth is we love M&Ms.  They could produce any color, coat the shell with it, cover the chocolate inside and we’d eat them.

Consumerism at its best?

Commercialism at its finest?

Chocolate degeneration at its worst?

Who knows?

But if you like chocolate, then you’ve probably downed a a couple zillion of these suckers throughout your lifetime.

Is it an addiction?

Probably.

You can’t be saved
Oblivion is all you crave
If there’s some left for you
You don’t mind if you do

Star Wars is my M&M.  It encapsulates a world of magic and memory for me.  It reminds me of my youth, before computers, smart phones, 3-D televisions and video game consoles.  We used our imagination to play games.  We role-played Luke Skywalker or Han Solo in our back yards.  We built Hoth Ice Stations in the snow, collected as many Stormtroopers as we could to make it look like our Imperial forces could crush any Rebellion, and begged our parents for the Millennium Falcon at holiday time.  We bought the t-shirts, devoured any new novel or comic book, foamed at the mouth when any hint of a new film was rumored in Hollywood.

It was the 80s man.  The decade of decadence.  And as a kid with a huge imagination and a hunger for all things science fiction and high fantasy I devoured it all.

It was magic.

Somethin’s at the edge of your mind
You don’t know what it is
Somethin’ you were hopin’ to find
But you’re not sure what it is
Then you hear the music
And it all comes crystal clear
The music does the talkin’
Says the things you want to hear

The New Boss reminded me about all that.

Sure I despise Episodes I – III, mostly because of my abject disappointment with the films themselves, the wooden caricatures also known as actors subjected to Lucas’ poor direction and the overall sense the magic I felt as a boy was lost or misplaced.

But I still went to the theater.

The Magic Kingdom now has a chance to redeem things, or perhaps (more appropriately) re-invigorate a flagging franchise.

Am I looking for a return of that old feeling of whimsical charm and excitement?

The little kid deep inside of me hopes so.

Sadly as an older and (hopefully) wiser man I’m a bit more realistic.

Or is that fatalistic?

Instead, what I’m really looking forward to is watching my kids create adventures of their own within the fantastical world of moving pictures, books, music and (dare I admit it) video games.  That’s one of the perks of being a dad.  You get to watch your kids grow up and develop a taste of their own.

And if it turns out they share the same interests as me, well that’s just the cherry on top.

Kinda like finding a golden M&M.

And I’m all right with that.

G’night folks.

2 thoughts on “The Tao of the M&M

  1. Suppose you bit into one of those M&Ms and found it filled with a little turd? I suspect your taste for the candy might abruptly cease, because you just don't know if you're going to find another turd. J.J. Abrams is that turd. For those who loved Star Trek movies, he dumped this candy covered piece of waste into the genre, a gloriously decorated piece of crap we all were supposed to consume, as eagerly perhaps as Star Wars Episodes 1-3 were. For me, J.J. Abrams was the end of the M&M jar of Star Trek movies. And now he's supposed to helm the new Star Wars film. Given the choice, I'd much rather watch Radagast the Brown on a six rabbit open sleigh.

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  2. You make a compelling point.

    I guess I have faith in the M&M itself, that each successive bite I'll find chocolate since the first bite was chocolate. Of course I was wrong about Episodes I – III but I bit into them anyway.

    I'm also an avid Trek fan and found Abrams' “alternate reality” concept very Trek-like. While the film's story was weak (especially since it barely incorporated the comic book series that preceded it), watching the USS Enterprise and her crew gallivant across the stars was like biting into one of those M&Ms. Sure it wasn't Shatner and Co. but the new actors held charm, and the many homages and tips-of-the-hat Abrams made toward Star Trek II (see: The Kobiyashi Maru) was nice.

    I think franchises like Star Trek, Star Wars and Indiana Jones should take a cue from James Bond – find a new actor and re-invigorate things.

    But I will definitely ponder your point more. Thank you for posting!

    Like

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