Friday, March 4, 2011

Chuck Norris - Violence - Stingy Mistakes

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One of my earliest memories is playing in the living room while my family watched what sounded like a violent movie. I remember covering my eyes because it sounded like something I shouldn't watch. My parents asked why I did that, and I said it's because it was a bad movie. They said, "Are you sure?" I opened my eyes and it was a Chuck Norris movie...

And suddenly it was okay to watch! I don't know why, but for some reason at that age it was okay to watch a violent film if it had Chuck Norris in it. I guess my father held him in high esteem (I grew up taking martial arts and my Dad often taught it) and so he was associated as a good guy.

I don't know what that means, but I think of it sometimes and wonder why it's okay to watch a violent movie if Chuck Norris is in it. Maybe his movies are clean...I don't know. I haven't seen that many since then.

I think growing up in a martial arts-friendly household led to the idea that violence wasn't that bad, as long as it was just that -- art. I remember not being able to play Mortal Kombat 2 because it had blood in it, but I also remember that Mortal Kombat was one of the first PG-13 movies I saw before I was 13. I could also rent rated-R movies at the video store if they were kung fu films, usually with Jet Li in them.

However, I wasn't able to watch Men in Black (still haven't seen it) because one of the first words is a curse word. There were actually a lot of things I couldn't see back then, to my dismay when all my friends were watching the newest James Bond movie (Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies) and I couldn't. I also remember being over 17 and my Dad saying he didn't want me to watch some rated-R movies.

I think the first rated-R movie I saw in theaters was The Matrix Reloaded. It was a bad choice because that day The Firm skateboard team (Lance Moutain, Ray Barbee, other good old skaters) came to town and did a demo at our tiny West Ashley skatepark (which I am very thankful for, despite its size).

Similar to the Enjoi skate demo in Columbia, I barely watched any of it. When it was over, it came time to see the Matrix. However, some local pool skaters basically kidnapped the Firm skaters and forced them to skate the only vert bowl in Charleston -- a place my friend Jason and I were privy to thanks to his Mom's connection.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but me, being the silly stingy kid I was, didn't want to waste the $9.50 I spent on a movie ticket, so I went and saw the Matrix. I had to sit in the first or second row because it was so packed. This is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

This is how stingy I was back then...I went on my lunch break once from Baskin Robbins (still one of the best jobs I've ever had) and wanted Spaghettios. I remember standing there and debating whether or not Spaghettios with meatballs was worth the extra 20 cents. I decided it wasn't and got plain Spaghettios, which are not as filling as the meatballs one. This was the beginning of my decision to leave my stingy ways behind, which has been a long road that I'm still traveling. Unfortunately, this didn't happen until after the Firm demo.

I'm glad my Dad censored my media intake growing up (too bad he didn't censor stingyness...), but it was difficult. I really wanted to play Mortal Kombat 2...(I rented it once because I thought you could turn the blood off, like in MK3. When you couldn't, I just played with my eyes closed). I actually remember in 4th grade I had a scab that came undone in class and started bleeding. I showed it to my friend John and asked if it looked like the blood in MK2. He said no and I said, "Exactly! So I should be able to play games with blood in them." Never mind that he seemed creeped out that I was showing him my bloody hand.

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