Monday, October 30, 2006

Cinema juvenile

My wife and I finally went to see Jackass: Number Two. This was completely her idea, of course. I wanted to see Marie Antoinette, but Kara insisted on watching grown men hurtle projectiles into each others’ crotches for an hour and a half instead.

Before we decided to go see it, I read a review that said, “Ask yourself this: Did the title make you laugh? If so, you’re probably the target audience.”

I hadn’t realized that the title was a joke at all. But when I went back and looked, yes, I did laugh. But I stopped laughing when I realized that I had just placed myself in the most unenviable of all categories: people who find toilet humor funny, but only when it’s explained to them. So I was indeed the target audience, only dumber.

I wouldn’t say that watching the movie has made me any smarter, but I will say that I look at life a little differently now. Being a homeowner for the past few years has made the world seem like such a fragile place. Everything breaks. Nothing withstands the test of time. Doorknobs fall off. Pipes transport water only when they feel like it. Nietzsche was probably a cheerful guy before he bought his first house. I bet he came up with the whole “God is dead” thing very soon after his roof sprung its first leak.

But Jackass has proven to me that the world is not nearly so fragile. You can stand blindfolded while a Siberian yak hits you in the shins so hard that you flip through the air and land on your face, and then do you know what happens? Nothing. You have a hearty laugh and then cut to the next scene, which probably involves getting attacked by a shark or being stuffed into a grocery cart and having your friends slingshot you into a closed garage door. But still, the people don’t die, like they obviously should. They don’t even seem to get seriously injured.

Darwin did not predict these people. The laws of nature do not apply. I can’t for the life of me figure out how the Jackass folks are all still alive. Chipping an occasional tooth seems to be the worst thing that ever happens to them. Requiring minor dental work after giving the Grim Reaper a wedgie seems a fairly small price to pay.

In reality, stupidity is not treated so charitably. When I was at summer camp as a kid, my friend Chris and I were hitting rocks into the woods with broom handles. We’d pitch the rocks to ourselves and swing away.

“Oh, there’s a perfect one,” Chris said, walking over closer to me and picking up a rock right by my feet.

At that moment, as Chris knelt down to pick up that rock, I thought we had an implicit understanding: I wouldn’t wait for him to get out of the way before hitting my next rock, and he wouldn’t stand up. To me, that seemed to be an agreement we could both be happy with.

Unfortunately, Chris didn’t hold up his end of the bargain. He stood up just as I started swinging, putting his head where nobody’s head ever wants to be: somebody else’s wheelhouse.

Most people go through their whole lives not knowing what it feels like to hit someone in the head with a broom handle as hard as they possibly can. But I found out exactly what it feels like, and it’s not good, though it’s probably a good measure better than being on the receiving end. I sure didn’t appreciate people laying all the blame at my feet, though, when Chris was clearly the one who reneged on our unspoken contract. It made his funeral really awkward for me.

Actually, after a brief bout with a medical condition commonly known as “being knocked senseless,” Chris enjoyed a full recovery, even graciously offering to help knock some sense into me.

You can strap Mike Todd to a rocket and fire him over a lake online at


  1. For some reason I also find bits of Jackass funny. It may be that I reckon it is partially based on my life, altho I did the stunts without consent. My big sister's favourite thing to say to me was "Taste this"
    Why I ever did I don't know. She also loved "Push this button". I set off alarms, knocked over things and caused general destruction everywhere. And all cos my sister would dare me... I was so innocent....

  2. You can always resort to what Gary says as he's blowing an ass gasket laughing "I don't care who you are... that shit right there is FUNNY!" . Just him laughing so hard and saying that slays me. I saw the original Jackass and well.... Yes... I laughed. I didn't want to but I couldn't help myself. Nothing like seeing a guy take a set of bicycle handlebars up the wazoo to get me laughing. Or someone bouncing off a trampoline onto their head. Good times~!

  3. Is being knocked sensless anything like having the crap smacked out of you???

    Just wondering.

  4. Hate to say it but JA 2's on my list of movies I'll probably see.

    Liked the funeral line. In fact it killed me.

  5. I'm still not over laughing yet. This is the best thing I've read so far that comes close to describing JA 2. Watching half of the first one has helped me steer away from JA 2.

  6. Whatever the reason, I have been reliving all the stupid mistakes I've made in my life...

    I feel a little better now. Thanks ;)

  7. tBerry -- Dude, did you ever pull a fire alarm? Kids in elementary school always said that the alarm would leave ink on your hands so they'd know who pulled it. That's gotta be a buncha crap, right? 'Cause they also pronounced vagina like pa-china. Not the most reliable sources.

    Sheri -- Gary sounds like the F'ing man. That's nice to hear that we both appreciate the fine arts, such as guys eating pee snow cones and barfing on each other.

    Burfica -- Yes, I believe they are closely related, like my friend Josh Perlson's parents.

    busterp -- You should definitely see it, though probably not sober if you can help it. Your joke made me laugh so hard I started coffin.

    M -- Thanks! And that's probably a wise choice to steer clear. You can't unsee some of those images. Especially the scrotal ones.

    Anna -- Glad you feel better! Are you still reliving them? It would take me all week.

  8. We don't have fire alarms to pull here in deep dark africa, so I haven't experienced that.
    I did press the school bell once, which resulted in a high speed getaway from teachers. Unfortunately they tracked me down, and seeing as it was during the days of corporal punishment, I decided not to try it again...