Sunday, February 12, 2017

Smug Yoga, Reader Curse, Reviving “Grease”

If you’re one of my friends and you do Yoga, you’re a lovely person and the following statement does not pertain to you. All I’m saying is that on occasion, I run into a particularly holier-than-thou Person Who Does Yoga, and the encounter inspires me to scream at them  (in my head), “Oh, you do Yoga??? Well, by God, why didn’t you say so sooner? Please give me your address so I can mail you your framed Better Person Award post-haste!” I am not trying gin up controversy or be deliberately contrarian here, but I truly do not like Yoga. I’ve given it numerous attempts, and all it does is make me want to crawl out of my skin. My body and brain simply refuse to cooperate. I don’t find it centering or relaxing. And I’m a physically restless person (not to be confused in any way with being an athletic person), so if I’m going to spend time exercising, I want to do something fast-moving with resistance, like swimming or the elliptical. I have a lot of nervous energy to discharge and I need to move. I need to wear myself out physically to feel better emotionally. That I find centering. Sitting still in a dark room and getting frustrated because my body is fundamentally incapable of doing a single Yoga move is not. Also, I could do without the self-righteous lectures of the instructors. It’s none of their business if I ate half a bag of Hot Cheetos for lunch.

All my life, I’ve had that “reader” curse. You know the one I mean—the curse of constantly mispronouncing common words because you spend all of your time indoors reading instead of fraternizing with other human beings, therefore you make up how certain words sound, and then get really embarrassed when someone points out to you that you’re saying it all wrong. I have this with “gesture”—I’m never really sure if it’s pronounced “jester” or “guess-ture," and a whole slew of other words that I can’t recall at the moment. I learned of another one last night, when, in a conversation with Mr. Typist, I pronounced the word “voluptuous” as “volumptious," much to his cackling delight. He gleefully pointed out that I have a life-long habit of mis-saying that word, and he’s right. He has his own theory as to why—he insists that I am mixing it up with “voluminous," but I disagree. I think it’s because a word such as “voluptuous”, “meaning “full of, characterized by, or ministering to indulgence in luxury, pleasure, and sensuous enjoyment," needs to have a soft “m” sound in there. “Voluptuous” is a really clunky word that does not adequately reflect its delightful meaning. It needs that soft “m” to fill it out and give it a nice, warm, downy feel.  (By the way, I know this antecedent may make Mr. Typist seem mean or insensitive, but it didn’t go down that way at all. I was laughing my arse off so hard during the whole conversation I almost fell out of my chair.)

Besides arguing over the proper pronunciation of relatively arcane words, Mr. Typist and I watched the 1978 movie “Grease” on Netflix last night. I remember seeing it in the theater as a very young Ms. Typist, and being absolutely captivated by it. I wanted nothing more than to be in a lady gang and wear a pink satin jacket and have a bad boyfriend with greasy hair and a fast car. So it was really fun to re-visit the movie from an adult perspective.  While watching the movie last night, I marveled to myself that if  1/10th of the sh*t that went down at Rydell High in 1959 went down at any high school ever in 2017, there would be a national scandal and about 11,000 lawsuits. Cases in point: The shop teacher accompanying her students to an illegal drag race, the relentless bullying of the hapless Eugene, rampant underage drinking and driving, not to mention sexual harassment and student-on-student violence. Nonetheless, shockingly, those thirty-five-year-old teenagers came out of it all unscathed and were able to do a silly dance at the graduation carnival. People were tougher back then.

Other random notes: My favorite female character is Frenchy by far. My favorite male character is Danny Zuko, since I have a soft spot for dim-witted but essentially good-hearted men. “Grease” probably has the best opening credit sequence of any film made before or since. And finally, Frankie Avalon singing “Beauty School Drop-Out” in those tight white pants is nothing less than divine. At any rate, enjoy this funny, dark take on Grease in 2017:

--Kristen McHenry

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