Cole Parker's latest story, Dominos, caused Altimexis to go into hysterics, and me to travel back to a memory of a defining moment.
Rather than clutter up the Forum, I have posted that memory here in my blog.
I was 14 and the film 'Blue Denim' had just been released. Now I should explain I loved movies. Every Saturday afternoon I was permitted to go to the local cinema to see the 'Kid's Matinee' as they called it back in 1959. We had no TV in those days.
In a fit of pubescent inquisitiveness and teenage rebellion, I had bought a pair of blue denim jeans during my school lunch hour. My parents did not know. They would never have allowed me to own such a terrible item of clothing.
Came the following Saturday and I kissed my mum goodbye and headed off to what she thought was the 'Kid's Matinee'. Instead I caught the bus to the city and managed to buy a ticket to see the 'Adults Only' movie, 'Blue Denim.' It starred the then teenage actors Carol Lynley and Brandon De Wilde.
The movie's plot was basically that parents' dislike of blue denim jeans was justified because Brandon wears them, and he gets Carol pregnant; much to the snickers of the cinema audience. When Brandon finds out that Carol is with child, there is much guilt on screen as the pair admit their parents' trusted them.
For some reason that escaped me at the tender age of 14, when the audience heard that line, they burst out into near, apoplectic laughter.
I was horrified at the insensitivity of my fellow cinema patrons. Didn't they understand how much trouble the characters were in?
Did they think it was appropriate to laugh at someone else's misfortune? I spent the rest of the movie wondering why my fellow patrons found the situation of these two teenagers so funny.
I was very, very, disappointed with humanity.
As the movie continued towards its conclusion, I became aware that my own teenager perspective was naive, even immature. It dawned on me that the reason the movie was 'Adults Only' was because older people would indeed find these kid's concerns with what their parents thought of them and their sexual experience as being humorous.
I wasn't altogether happy with them, but I at least came to see why the adults were laughing.
I was also deeply aware that I would have liked to have offered Brandon De Wilde the opportunity of trying to get me pregnant.
By the movies end, I had realised that the adults in the audience had a perspective of life that I was just beginning to understand.
So it was that I read the first chapter of Cole's new story with that same kind of acceptance, of Bradley's innocence, as I had for the characters in that movie of long ago. I empathised with his predicament rather than finding it funny, even though I could see as I read it how it might be viewed as humorous. And this early experience came flooding back into my mind.
Now I have no idea if Cole wanted us to be amused, bemused or sympathetic. My guess is he wanted all three as well as whetting our appetite for more. Altimexis' amusement and my reminiscences are legitimate responses in my opinion, and both show the extraordinary power of Cole's sublime writing.