There are so many different things I wish about today. I wish today that I had a million dollars. I wish today that world peace would spread across the globe like wildfire. Except, you know, without the burning things down part. I wish that my daughter would be the happiest and healthiest child in the universe. And I wish that I were having the most amazing day of the most amazing week, of the most amazing month, of the most amazing year, of the most amazing life . . . ever!!! But we don’t always get what we want. Sometimes we get a big monkey wrench in our plans. Sometimes our week goes entirely off the rails.
Off The Rails – A La Batman (It’s A New Dish)
How did my week go off the rails? And what does going off the rails even look like? Let us go back to the original Batman movie series for an example. Tim Burton, an auteur in his own right, had directed the first two of the Batman series that had done quite well. But he had tired of doing them and wanted to pass the reins off to someone else. Joel Schumacher, a notable director at the time, decides that he is going take a shot at tackling the caped crusader. And the first thing on his agenda was to add a new Batman to the mix. And who did he choose to be the masked marauder? He chose Val Kilmer.
A Series Of Interesting Choices
Don’t laugh. This isn’t where the series went off the rails, as it were. Val Kilmer was quite the actor in his day. Just because he and Russell Crowe could be put side by side and someone might confuse them for twins does not mean that was who he was at the time. Back then he was the svelte, dashing hero of such movies as Willow, Tombstone, and The Saint. He was a big thing. But he wasn’t really committed to the role as I think he might have been. And he turned in a lackluster performance.
Of course, he had to compete with the likes of Jim Carrey as the Riddler for attention. And this was Jim Carrey in the middle of his heyday in films. He was Ace Ventura, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber and The Truman Show all rolled into one. Every film he made, with the exception of the Truman show, would be talked about for sequels. Songs he sang in movies turned into hits. (Cuban Pete). He was a big thing and he overwhelmed most pieces he was in by sheer force of will. Not unlike Robin Williams in his heyday.
If You Get To Batman And Robin You Have Gone Too Far
But I still don’t think this is where the series went off the rails. You could argue that Batman and Robin, the sequel to this movie, was where the series went off the rails. But that’s like telling someone the train that landed in the ocean went off the rails as it was sinking to the bottom of the sea. I think that it might have gone off the rails somewhere before that. Just saying.
Dark Vs. Camp
Where do I think it went off the rails? Well . . . let’s begin with the expectations of the first Batman movie. It was supposed to be a darker version than we had seen before. And what had we seen before? We had the 60s, Adam West Batman with on-screen punches with Bam and Pow in big letters. It was campy, to say the least. So when they made the first movie, it was to move away from the camp. Now they didn’t totally move away. Anyone who watched Jack Nicholson’s Joker would see this. But it was definitely darker.
Some people liked this darkness. And some people didn’t. There was a fight over the future direction of the series. But I thought that with Tim Burton staying on as executive producer that his vision of the series would be maintained. Well . . . by number four it obviously had anger. But the truth is, there was one moment in movie three where you realized that this new director wanted to take things back. He wanted to jerk us back to Bam, Pow, Wap!
So when was that moment? When did it happen? When did I know that we had lost whatever semblance of a series we had and were in for silly future governators, a miscast nerdy woman who was much better at wielding swords than plants, an actress who was more clueless than in her other movies? I knew it in the third act of the third movie. Batman and Robin have landed on the Island and it’s pitch black. They are getting out of the water and headed to the shore when Robin speaks up.
“Holy rusted metal, Batman,” Robin retorts. There is a stunned silence in the theater at that moment. We know we have all entered the twilight zone and wonder if Adam West is about to pop out of the Batman suit instead of Val Kilmer. Or maybe it would be the paunchy Val Kilmer as he is today. We then sit there as we notice there are holes in the metal that surround them. And Robin has to explain why he made the comment. We all know why he made the comment. It was a gag. But any joke you have to explain to an audience is a dead joke. It’s dead on arrival.
Why Did They Do It?
I think they did it because deep down Mr. Schumacher was enamored with the original Batman series. He was one of the sycophants who believed that the original series was better and we needed to move backward and not forwards. Don’t get me wrong. I have a place in my heart for the original series. It was good campy fun. And all of the stars were having a blast doing their lines. But when you tried to blend Burton’s vision with the 60s, you basically ended up with a jumbled mess of two different series running simultaneously. You had Batman trying to be serious while the villains were all camp, all the time.
I admit that the villains always have the opportunity to turn themselves into caricatures. They are spoofs of real people, which lends itself to a bit of camp. But you can be those people and still be real. Watch The Dark Knight and tell me it isn’t possible. (As much as I love Nicholson, Heath Ledger is the quintessential Joker and always will be in my book.) But villains as silly with a hero as serious does not make for much of a series. And by the time they released Batman and Robin, despite the success of the third movie, it was dead on arrival. The series has been killed off. And it all began with holey rusted metal.
Where Did My Easter Go Off The Rails?
My Easter had similarly gone off the rails. But how did it go off the rails and why? Can I pinpoint a particular moment? Or is it all just a series of unfortunate events? (Preferably the Neil Patrick Harris one and not the Jim Carrey one as we have had enough campy moments for today.) It began all began with a tooth. A broken one. You can go back here to find out what happened. Finances made it difficult to take care of as my dentist quotes me a slightly unreasonable price. So I waited to get some money set aside for it. I finally had gotten the money, but this week I had my daughter so I figured I would wait until next week to get it done.
It All Started With A Decision
That was probably a bad decision. By Friday evening of last week, my tooth was sore enough to be heat sensitive and I was developing headaches. I thought they were due to eye strain so I ignored the signs. I took Orajel for the pain. Somehow that got misplaced but I was ok at that point.
Then Thursday rolled around and we were at the zoo. When I decided to drive home at 3:30 in the afternoon on Thursday I was thinking I would avoid some traffic. Boy, was I wrong. I got in the car at turned on the GPS. It gave me the approximate travel time: two and a half hours. This trip should take 30 to 40 minutes on a good day. I was a little perturbed that it took me an hour and twenty to get out there in the morning. But two and a half hours was insane.
Everything Begins To Snowball
As soon as I get onto the freeway my head starts to throb. It is not the almost caressing headache of an eye strain or the easily taken care of throbbing in the front of your head with a sinus infection. It was a pain shooting upwards. But given the severity of the pain, I didn’t fixate on the fact that there was one key way this headache differed than all of the other headaches I have had. This headache was centered on one specific side of the brain. Which meant the pain had to be generating from one side.
Thankfully I was able to navigate the car ride home and get some groceries to make some dinner at the same time. And that’s about all the energy I had left. I could make a dinner. And it wasn’t a difficult dinner at that. It was just making my own taco bar. Bethany and I always enjoy doing a make your own taco bar. And that night was no different. But by the time we were finished eating, I wasn’t ready to do anything else. I was physically and emotionally spent.
Last Friday Night
Friday Night seemed to go by ok. We had a little birthday celebration for my daughter with her friends and just enjoyed spending time out. (There were no skinny dipping or taking too many shots like the Katy Perry song.) The day was doctors, lunch with her mother and then getting ready to go out to Knott’s for one more crack at the Boysenberry Festival. (And if you are in the Southern California area you need to go. It’s open one more week.) We went out and had a good time but ominous things were about to occur. We arrived home.
First, there was the vanishing of the doll. My daughter has a stuffed mouse that she has adorned with a red cape and an earring. (And in the crazy hope that one of my readers somehow spots it, please contact me in the about author section of my blog.) I know many of you have seen him in pictures here. He is French Bob. When we got home from Knott’s and my daughter took a shower, she came up and asked me if I had seen him. I had not. Not since earlier. She swore she had him at lunch with her mom. I do not recall. Wherever he is, I am hoping we find him. But this stressed her out. Now I was stressed out too.
A Fitful Sleep
This, of course, led to a nights sleep that ranked in the bottom ten of restful, next to the morning after grad night at Disneyland. You have those mornings where you wake up and you are aching, your throat is sore, your head begins to throb, and you haven’t even been out of bed. This was not good. But I had things that needed to get done, and so I did them. This increased the headache level. I could tell now that my headache was just on one side. This was my sign. And it was smacking me over the head, repeatedly. Headache Level 5
Then we had to pick up my daughter’s cousins and take them to Knott’s for some family birthday celebrations. It was one of the craziest busy days at Knott’s. We went to a stunt show, ate some grub and then went on a few rides before my brother was supposed to arrive at the park and join us. The last of the rides the kids went on was the Mexican hat dance. Everyone seemed to be having fun.
The Beginning Of The End
As opposed to the previous ride, my niece wanted to carry her pack with her. Unfortunately, she wanted to carry it with her on this ride. This might have been fine but for the big bottle of Sprite that she had put inside. Needless to say, her pack was a mess once they got done being dizzy. We tried to soak up the mess but it really didn’t work too well. Headache Level 6
Then there was my brother arriving, with a crew. It would have been one thing for him to arrive, but he had attracted some stragglers that my niece and nephew knew from dance. He tried to tell them it was my daughter’s birthday. But for some reason, that didn’t seem to faze them. And then my niece and nephew began inadvertently ignoring the fact that Bethany was there. I understand that they are friends, but this was my daughter’s birthday we were trying to celebrate. I knew my daughter felt left out. Talking to my brother about it didn’t work as he felt like he did as much as he could to discourage them being there without being rude. Headache Level 7
After one toss around Big Foot Rapids, where my pants were soaked far more than I would like to admit, we went to meet my parents and sister-in-law at TGI Friday’s to do the final bit of celebrating. Things seemed to be going along swimmingly until my daughter and niece stepped out to the use the restroom. By the time they got back, the wait staff had taken everyone’s orders but for them. So when we get our food, they do not get theirs. This was followed by some minor bickering over who was paying for what and my brother informing me that it was going to be a long night for him when he got home. Headache Level 8
My daughter and I get in the car to head home. As the phone is almost out of power I plug it into the charger. We then try playing music from it. My car doesn’t like the music and charging at the same time. There is some interference everytime I do that. So silly me, I pull out the car charger to hear the music better. The pain is getting so bad we stop off at a 7-Eleven to get some Orajel as I had misplaced it during the week. I purchase it and sit in the car trying to open it. It has one of those caps you should cut off. Or if your headache is driving you crazy you try to open with your teeth. Because that won’t affect your tooth induced headache. Now, where did I go wrong? Headache Level 9
Home At Last?
We arrive home and I can’t find the scissors. And, in the kind of pain I was in, I am not sure I could have found anything even if it was staring me in the face. But I do know a place we have some and I cut the Orajel open. Putting it on the tooth mollifies the pain . . . for two seconds. This is bad. I look up things on the internet, the source of all bad information and it suggests I should have been in the doctor’s office yesterday. I call the hospital. They tell me to call my dentist. I call them. It’s a message telling me to call the emergency number. I call that and my dentist answers. He tells me he can help me Monday . . . next Monday. He is out of state. Headache Level 10
The dentist tells me he will get a prescription to my pharmacy if I provide him some information via text. I do so and drag my daughter with me to get it filled. When we arrive at the pharmacy they tell me the order hasn’t been placed yet. I wait. They tell me they will close at 12 and it’s 11:20. I text my dentist back. The text now goes to green. For those of you with iPhones, you know blue means you are using iMessage with another iPhone user. When the messages go to green, sometimes you have been blocked. Mine went green. The pharmacist tries to call. No answer. They leave a message. And now, it’s midnight. Headache Level 11
Hospital Or Bust
My daughter wants to come with me to the hospital as the pain has now reached unbearable status. We get stuff at home and head there. They take me to the back, and get me triaged and then I go out and wait. The triage nurse says it shouldn’t take long as they are slow. (You can feel the irony oozing now, can’t you?) We watch as several people, who arrived after us, are let in. Two hours later they finally call my name. I suppose I should be happy that they apologize. Thankfully they get to everything pretty quickly once there. This means a shot and a prescription. We get it filled and head home. The time the tone rings . . . 3:20 A.M. Happy Easter everyone!!!
Does It End?
I would love to say that this was the end of the crazy. There was getting my daughter in bed, making an easter basket, and getting up early in the morning to hide eggs. This would have been bad enough. From the vanishing of Bob to Easter eggs on two hours sleep in three easy lessons. But wait! There’s more! I wake up and find out that someone has hacked my iPhone account, added me to some family plan, charged some Asian songs, and then disconnected me. I change my login on my phone but then there are specialty questions to confirm my identity. They keep telling me the questions are wrong.
This drives me crazy so I contact Apple support on the Phone. Thankfully they tell me that while they did charge a card, it just so happens that the card they charged was not my card. And while accessing my account they tell me that all of the information for the questions was wrong. I ask where I can change that and they inform me what website I can do that at. I try to do that. But what does the computer say? It says they don’t have enough information for me to be able to change the security questions. And why do they not have that? Because I cannot answer those questions. What marvelous circular reasoning. I can’t change what’s wrong because I don’t know the words that are wrong. Fabulous!
So Where Am I Now? And What Have I Learned Today?
I am sitting here now, writing to you this little treatise, thinking about this crazy week. Did I love it? Of course! I spent the week with my daughter. But how do I feel about it? I feel like I should have learned something from all of this mess. And I did. Take care of your teeth the minute you have a problem or else some guy in a bat suit and his sidekick will knock you over the head with some holy rusted metal, steal your Apple ID to download songs from Asia, and kidnap someone named Bob with a red cape and an earring. Or something like that.
Seriously, next time I will just go ahead and get that tooth taken care of whether I am with my daughter or not. It’s not worth all this pain and suffering. And a couple hours in the middle of the afternoon in the dentist office beats a couple of hours in the middle of the night at a hospital any day of the week, even with my daughter with me.
So how did your easter go? Or how is it going? What is one crazy thing you did this past week? And when your life looks like a cross between a tragedy and a biopic of the life of Donald Duck, if we were a real person, can you point to the one thing that started you down that path? To be honest, I am not sure I can. So I’m going to blame holy rusted metal. Why? Because I can.
If you loved this story, and it made you laugh a little, cry a little, or make your tooth ache, please subscribe to my blog. Also, check out many of my hilarious adventures, or tragicomedies. They are a hoot! Uh oh! I think I have been hanging around Krazy Kirk too long.
Until next time, this is me signing off.
David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life