The phone rang around 10 ’til 8 PM, Saturday evening. When I ran into the living room and looked, my 14-year-old nephew’s face and name were on the tiny cell phone screen.
I picked up. “Hello, Max!”
“Hello, uncle.” He paused.
“How would you like to go see a movie with me and some of my friends?” I could hear the combination of a smile and pleading in his voice.
“We want to see ‘Jackass 2’. Except the movie theater is being stupid.”
“Oh, I’ll bet that’s really funny!” I said, but hesitantly. I see. They need an adult to get in to see it.
“…but I’m just getting ready to go out for the evening.” I weighed in my mind a night out drinking vs. seeing a movie about crazy stunts and voilence with some teenage boys and surprised myself with how close the two seemed in entertainment value.
“Yeah, I’m meeting a friend.”
“Oh.” He seemed disappointed, but brightened as he added, “Would your friend want to see ‘Jackass 2’, too?”
I laughed. He was persistent. “Yeah. She… probably… wouldn’t. Sorry.” I thought a moment. “If you’d called me earlier, maybe.”
“We didn’t know until we got to the movie theater. We have someone who’s 18, but the theater said we had to have someone over 21. Mom said you might want to see it, too and suggested I call.”
“And your mom does not want to see ‘Jackass 2’. Got it.”
“Well, sorry.” I really was sorry, and felt a little bad, but… last-minute calls and all that. “Good luck!”
As I hung up, I remembered another nephew, years and years ago, and all the things I was able to get him into when he was underage. I hope the statute of limitations has expired by now, but I’ll admit to getting him into bars and movies he “shouldn’t” have been able to see.
I remember taking him to see “Blade Runner” on the opening weekend, waiting in line for what seemed like forever, and when we got to the ticket counter, the guy would not sell us a ticket for my nephew. In summer 1982, I was 17 and probably looked a little older (I was short, but hairy and probably wore a beard at the time; I don’t remember now). My nephew was taller than me, though, and I thought he looked at least as old as I was, even though he was (exactly) 6 years younger. “Blade Runner” was rated “R” – under 17 not admitted without a parent or guardian. I argued a bit. I’m his uncle, I told him, which was true but looked unlikely. I finally gave in and bought two tickets to see “E.T.” (rated “PG”), which was playing at the same time.
I stalked off, dragging my nephew behind me, and we found two seats. My nephew, who had been silent the entire time, turned to me and said, “Are we really going to see ‘E.T.’?”
“No.” I decided at that moment, but the way I said it made it seem like I had decided long ago. I really didn’t want to see Spielberg’s movie, though, and had my heart set on seeing Harrison Ford chase some androids. I’d been reading about this movie in “Starlog” magazine all spring and summer. It looked dark and moody, not sappy and funny like Spielberg’s flick.
“Give it a minute,” I said, checking my watch to see how long until the movie started. We waited a minute or two, then I got up. “Follow me, and act like you know what you’re doing.”
We headed out for the bathrooms, then instead of returning to the “E.T.” theater we walked straight into the one showing “Blade Runner.”
I’m still surprised at how easy it was. It was the first of many times I’d cheated the movie ratings system. And it was the first time (at least that I remember) including my nephew in my adventures.
And now, with this call from Max… it seems that I still can provide that kind of service. Although it’s a bit more problematic these days. I don’t have a jam-packed social calendar, but the few events I do have I like to enjoy… And wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that I was the “guardian” who got both of us in to see “Snakes On A Plane”? I didn’t even think that you needed an adult to get in to see that until the guy who tore the ticket gave you an odd look, then looked at me standing behind you. “Oh, right, I’m with him,” I said.
So, sorry, Max, about Saturday night, if you’re reading this. I need a little more notice, but I’ll be happy to help you out in the future…
It’s not like I haven’t done that before.