Sunday, I settled in with Erin and the kids for our annual viewing of A Christmas Story. Like everyone else, I have my 10-15 favorite lines:
“It was… soap poisoning!”
“You used up all the glue … on purpose!”
But those lines, as much as I enjoy them, are not why I consider this movie so special. The main reason is that the movie made it OK to have strange thoughts.
When I was a kid, I always thought something was wrong with me because I’d dream up all these crazy thoughts and scenarios. If I got punished, I’d dream up all manner of revenge scenarios. If I wanted a certain toy, I’d dream up hundreds of scenarios of me playing with said toy.
All kids do that. For that matter, adults do it to. But it took seeing A Christmas Story for me to get that. Before that, I thought I was just a bizarre kid doomed to a future of sinister thinking that would make me an alien among more “normal” people.
It also taught me that mine wasn’t the only family that failed to fit all the Brady Bunch parameters.
I’m not a special case. The movie was an eye-opener for a lot of people.
The reason those scenes cause us to laugh so vigorously is because there’s a release — or, more to the point, a relief. Relief in knowing we’re not alone in our weird families and weirder thinking.
That’s what I call a Christmas gift.