On the eighth day of Sexmas, I delivered to mommy….
Richard Gere VHS-ing.
Note: For those of you unfamiliar with the inside joke about the fakanál, click here.
Anyu likes Richard Gere enough that I think she would agree that he qualifies for Mr. August, in addition to Mr. February. This is a poorly-Photoshopped poster from the film “Nights of Rodanthe”,which has a very special significance to my mother, mostly because she has not yet seen it. Here’s why:
“Darn it, I can’t find ‘Nights of Rodanthe’ on VHS for Anyu’s birthday,” I said, clicking through numerous online home video web pages.
Matt, my partner in crime in all things film-related, raised an eyebrow and pushed his seat back from his workstation. “Now, why would ANYONE still buy anything on VHS?” Matt does a lot of film direction and cinematography, so the idea of paying actual money for a film less than crystal-clear quality makes the man shutter.
“My cousin gave her a DVD player a while back, but she can’t find the cords that plug into the TV. Anytime I try to take a look at the unit, Anyu freaks out that I’m going to electrocute myself. I’ve just been buying her VHS tapes since the deck is built into the TV.”
Matt silently walked over to a large Tupperware bin filled with extension cords, adaptors, and various spare techie parts. Most people have a drawer of this kind of stuff, but we have an entire section of our office dedicated this kind of this [occasionally life-saving] techie trash.
“Is THIS your cable?” he said, presenting me a black cord like a magician revealing a playing card.
“I don’t know. Really, it’s okay, I’m sure I can find a dub. DVDs are too stressful.”
“Don’t worry, I can hook up your mom’s DVD player the next time we happen to be in the neighborhood.”
“That’s really nice of you. If you really want to…”
::flash forward to Piscataway::
“Be careful, don’t drop dah TV on your head,” Anyu said as she loomed over Matt.
It’s okay, I’m fine,” Matt murmured from behind the TV.
“Be careful. Don’t electrocute yourself. I mean it. Do you have insurance? I don’t vant to haf anodder accident! You remember vhen Nagymama dropped the whole entertainment center on her head?” (Author’s Note: Read about that incident here)
“Anyu, stop distracting him,” I pleaded.
Matt crawled out from behind the TV and Anyu immediately started inspecting his work. “Is it done now? Does it vork? Did you hook it up right?”
“Just a moment, Ms. Yuhas, I have to set the channels,” he replied with a smile. “Do you have the remote?”
Anyu threw her hands in the air. “I don’t KNOW if it has a remote. My niece just gave me dis box, it’s all scrambled up, oh, no…” Anyu ran off into the other room.
“See, I told you the DVD would be stressful. She gets all worked up when strangers are around. It’s okay if you can’t fix it…”
“It’s really no big deal, Steph. Your mom should have a working DVD player. It’s just going to waste otherwise!”
Anyu ran back in and handed Matt approximately 87 assorted remote controls.
“Vhich von?! Vhich one?!”
“Okay, this is it, Panasonic DVD,” Matt replied. “But…none of these remotes have batteries.”
“Buttrees! Hold on!” Anyu said, pointing a finger at us. “You two stay here. I’ll get it. Don’t vorry. I’ll find it…” Anyu sprinted off into the other room.
Anyu ran back in with a cardboard box filled with various old electronics. “Vhat kind of buttrees ve need?”
“Triple A, Anyu.”
“Dah flashlight vons are too big.” She rummaged through the pile. “Vhat’s dis? Valkman buttrees?”
“Those are double A. We need triple A,” I said.
Anyu looked confused. “Vait, dat’s the ‘Ah-Ah-Ah’ vons, right?”
“Yes, they say ‘Ah-Ah-Ah.'”
“Dis is it, den.” She handed me two double A batteries.
“No, that’s just ‘Ah-Ah’, we need ‘Ah-Ah-Ah!'”
“Vhat…von A? You’re confusink me, Stephie, I-”
“Here, I have some,” said Matt, pulling out a fresh pack of triple A batteries from his backpack.
I smiled in relief, “Well, Boyscout, you saved the day!”
“Are you sure dis is the right kind?” Anyu asked. “I don’t vant it to explode.”
“It’s fine…” Matt popped the batteries into the back of the remote. He played around with the menu for about 10 minutes in an attempt to turn off the French subtitles. Eventually, an image of Richard Gere and Diane Lane faded onto the screen.
“You fixed it, Matt!” my mother yelled with glee.
“It’s set it up so anytime you want to play a movie, all you have do is put the disk in shiny-side down and push the big ‘PLAY’ button.”
“”Oh, look, it even tells me dah time!” she said, pointing to the display.
“Yup, just about all DVD players do that nowadays. I set the date, too, so it will automatically change the time for daylight savings.”
“Dats great!” Anyu said, as she reached over to the extension cord that plugged in the television and DVD player.
Matt reached out, “Wait, no, you shouldn’t-”
SNAP! Anyu gave the cord a tug and all the electronics went dark. She dropped disconnected cord to the floor and smiled. “Don’t vorry Matt, I’ll vatch dah movie later vhen you guys leave.”
Matt looked devastated. “But…once you set up a DVD player, you can’t unplug it. You lose all your settings every time you unplug it, so it won’t work when you plug it in later.”
“Vhat are you, nuts? If you leave electronics plugged in, dey’ll start a fire! Besides, Nagymama might trip over it and electrocute herself! No vay. I’ll just call you next time I vant to vatch a movie.”
“Or…” I said with a smirk. “I’ll just buy you stuff on VHS.”
“Oh, yes, I like VHS because you can stop it and revind it. It’s vay better dan dah DVD.”
So, I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Not everyone in this world needs a 48-inch Plasma Screen Widescreen TV with a Blu-Ray player. To my dear Anyu, Richard Gere in Standard Def with glitches on the tape is just as beautiful as any digital surround-sound HD movie-watching experience. Sometimes simplicity is beautiful.
Since Warner Brother’s does not distribute this film on VHS, I think this calendar will have to do for now.