Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Stup"ing to Conquer

You ever wonder why certain memories suddenly pop into your head? The other day, I was walking out to my car after work when out of the blue my subconscious dredges up a childhood memory that hadn't crossed my mind years.

The year was 1977 or thereabouts. The place was a movie theater. Possibly the Dock in Excelsior, but I'm not so sure anymore. The cast was me, JB, and two of our neighborhood friends, the Swanson brothers. One was a year older than one me. One a year older than JB. This age grouping lead us to spend quite a bit of time together as kids. We played a lot of sports and also got together for other activities as we were on this day.

We were watching the movie For the Love of Benji. Why? It was probably the only release that our parents deemed suitable viewing at the time. This was pre-cable, pre-DVD, heck it was pre-VCR for most of us and when it came to movies we pretty took whatever we could get.

Anyway, I remember nothing about the movie until the end. For some reason a basket was opened by Benji to reveal a liter of puppies. It was a surprise to the audience and one of those impossibly cute moments that elicits a smiling "Awwww...." from just about anyone. Except for my brother.

His immediate, visceral, and unrestrained response was to yell "Stoop!" about as loud as he could. At the time, we used it the word as a slang, shorter version of "stupid." So technically, it's "Stup!" pronounced "Stoop!" I don't recall how the other movie goers reacted to JB's little outburst, but it obviously made an impression on me as I still recall it more than thirty years on. In hindsight, as movie criticism goes it was some of most cogent and concise I've ever come across. Simple, to the point, and spot on.

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