They say that confession is good for the soul, so pull up a chair. What you are about to read may set you back a decade or two. I have decided to do all the confessing at one time, get a good soul cleansing, and start anew.
I think I better begin with a big one first: I have never seen the movie Titanic. When the movie came out, I was in graduate school, and every spare moment was spent on the computer, in the library, or grabbing much needed sleep.
And before long I had heard so much about it that I almost felt like, "What's the point? I basically know the plot anyway."
I vaguely remember someone hosting an Oscar's watch party that year, which would normally be my jam because I love a good party, but they were dressing in costumes and serving period food, all in the hopes of Titanic sweeping the big awards show. I played sick.
When a movie is released today, it is in the theater for about a hot minute, and then streaming somewhere 30 seconds later. In 1997, it was in the theatre forever, then at Blockbuster as a rental, then available for purchase, then finally relegated to cable channels you paid extra for, and then and only then, available on "regular t.v.".
Somewhere in that dichotomy of offerings and chances to watch it, I sort of dug in and decided to take a stand. I simply would not watch Titanic. Some people fall on political swords, but apparently I fell on an iceberg.
I had no particular aversion to Leonardo or a fear of boats or anything that would be good fodder for a therapist's couch. It even became my lie in the “Three Truths and a Lie” game people use for icebreakers.
"Well, everybody has seen Titanic, so that must be her lie," they would say, and I would be well on my way to winning the gift card giveaway.
Since taking my no Titanic stand some 25 years ago, it has been hard to avoid any discussion of the movie, so I actually understand a lot of the references-- a couple in love, a sinking ship, and Rose’s choice to let Jack go.
Oops. Hope I didn’t spoil it for the one other person in the world who hasn’t seen it. I suppose my heart will go on, if you know what I mean.
If my first confession didn’t shock you, stay tuned. This next one is a pretty big admission, too. Ready? I like cheap wine. Whew. Feels good to get that out.
Pour me a sweet and fruity Winking Owl beverage and set a pricey offering right next to it, and I will pick the junk wine in a taste test every time. The good news about this confession is that my husband says this makes me a cheap date-- wait a minute, he may have meant that in a more derogatory way than I first took it.
The bad news is, in a culture currently obsessed with wine, I am the odd woman out. I don’t have a collection of corks, because the wine bottle with the screw top works just fine for me.
I really have tried to like the better stuff. My husband and I went to a wine tasting charity event. We liked the beautiful outdoor setting, the appetizers, and all the people there.
But the wine? Meh. My husband claimed to have been able to detect the notes of oak and orange in one of the samples, but I should remind you this is the same fellow who thinks Velveeta is good cheese.
I was particularly intrigued with the process of cleansing our palates after each sampling, mostly because it was hilarious to watch grown-ups spitting into Dixie cups. I held out for one last sample of a wine that was supposed to have a distinctive, easily identifiable taste.
The other 19 people there closed their eyes and swished it around in their mouths and said, "Mmmmm". The consensus was it tasted like chocolate covered cherries.
“Yes!” the sommelier said. To me, it tasted like the Episcopalian communion cup. If you know, you know.
So I don't like one of the most famous movies ever, and I don’t have a discerning palate. Can it get any worse? Hold my cheap wine.
Confession #3: European history baffles me. Please note that baffles is a much stronger word than confuses. I mean if I was just confused about it, that would indicate that at some point I might get it straight. Being baffled is more permanent, I believe.
It is not that I haven’t tried to get all those crazy, land-grabbing dictators and despots all squared away. My daughter was studying European history this year, and I actually kept up with her… through the first week of school.
When we got into the various kings and queens, out of desperation and embarrassment that I didn’t know the difference between the Romanovs and the Hapsburgs, I offered to help her with math. What I don’t know about math could be a separate confession column all of its own.
As my daughter inched nearer the world wars in her studies, I jumped back into the European fray. Turns out I just knew the American side of the wars. This whole being-an-ally-in-one-war and then switching-allegiance-in-another puts me in turmoil of my own.
I have finally cemented in my mind that Britain and France are pretty much always our buddies now, and this is good news for me, as I like both bangers and mash and croissants, and I would be sad to eat enemy food.
What happened with Italy and Russia? You liked us in World War I, but by World War II, we weren’t on the same kickball team anymore.
I think part of my bafflement is that I never understood the International Dateline in 4th grade social studies class. So apparently anything on the other side of that is simply out of my grasp.
Lastly, I would like to make a couple of confessions about my television viewing. If you think I am going to confess that I sometimes binge, well, sure. But so does pretty much everybody I know.
If you think I am going to confess that I prefer one genre over another, well, sure, I like a good game show or medical drama way more than reality t.v. What I have to confess is much bigger and potentially damaging to my status as a card carrying t.v. connoisseur.
I do not like American Ninja Warrior. There. I said it, and I feel better already.
I realize it glorifies the underdog, it contains the important element of not knowing exactly when someone will fall into a tepid chest-high tank of water, and age and gender are no barriers to competition.
And yes, all the competitors have these great back stories, and they look good in soccer shorts and close fitting tank tops, which makes me hate them and the show on general principal.
My husband and daughter talk about the warrior obstacles like they are old friends. “She’ll never make it through Cannonball Alley,” they scream. “It’s a dream killer.”
All the while, my biceps are aching, and I am having flashbacks to the President’s Physical Fitness test and the dreaded flexed arm hang. I was gifted with a weak upper body, always on display in the yearly knotted rope challenge and the wall peg climb.
My best friend’s sinewy arms were perfect for the test, and I cheered her from the sidelines, sweating from my previous exertion in my polyester gym suit. She battled it out with scabby-knee’d elementary boys, and we bragged about her win over our square slices of cafeteria pizza.
So what would I rather watch than American Ninja Warrior? Almost anything, but specifically my soap opera, and there you have my last confession. I really like my soap.
Yes, the characters have terrible habits like falling into comas, marrying and divorcing their brothers or cousins, driving wedges into families with thefts and betrayals, slapping one another in times of turmoil, and baby swapping. But they have a certain appeal.
Thanks to Botox and good lighting, soap stars are ageless. No matter how bad a day I have had, one of them has always had it worse, but still manages to look fabulous.
Even their identical twins have an identical twin or a hidden triplet. They find and lose love faster than I can switch the channel away from Ninja Warrior. Best of all, they are my escape from reality.
I think I am finished confessing for today. I am headed into the kitchen to grab a cup of ice for my wine, and maybe hunt down the remote to see if I can catch a WWII documentary before my soap comes on.