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Talk to me, Goose

One late summer evening, Jamiee asked me a question to which I responded, “Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.” Anyone who was close to their youth in the mid eighties should instantly recognized that as a line from the Tom Cruise movie Top Gun, but it was totally lost on Jamiee. “What?” she replied.

“Whaddya mean? You don’t remember that line from Top Gun?”

“What is Top Gun?”

“What?! You mean you’ve never seen it?”

“I’ve never even heard of it.”

Ahh, children.

It seems crazy to me that she hasn’t seen it, hasn’t even heard of it, because this is not an old movie. We’re not talking about some black and white classic running on Turner Classic Movies or something. This is Top Gun… fighter gets, roaring engines, big screen adrenaline. It was in the theatres, like, yesterday. I remember it being a great movie, and I was certain Jamiee would get as big a kick out of it as I had way back when.

So off we went to the corner Mega Mart where, sure enough, it was there on the shelf on sale for $9.99. We brought it home and cranked it up and in the midnight daylight of late June. Funny thing, though, it didn’t seem to hold my attention. I drifted away fairly quickly, on to other projects and more interesting content. I was surprised to see that it hasn’t held up over the (Gasp!) twenty-three years since I first saw it. Jamiee watched it as a courtesy to me, but it didn’t make a big impression on her either. And so the DVD case sat on the shelf by the TV, unwatched and unloved for a little over a week, until it was discovered by a certain four-year old.

Jacob first noticed the fighter jets on the cover of the case and knew that this was a fighter jet movie, and so he asked to watch it. I was glad show it, too. At least someone in the family would be impressed by the movie magic of my adolescent years. And that opening sequence is pretty cool. 

After the first showing, he was hooked. Now he asks to watch it all the time. Of course he doesn’t care about all of the dialogue and adult drama that comes in the interstices between dogfights, he just wants to see the action. And so we skip ahead to each flying sequence, which pairs the movie down to a bearable thirty or forty minutes. It’s actually kind of interesting: I’ve never deconstructed the movie in this way, but there are only five flying sequences. It always seemed like there was so much more.

At first he was full of questions about what was happening, and so I had to explain. “Those are good guys, and they have to land their plane on a runway that is built on a large boat called an aircraft carrier.” And then, “Those are bad guys, and they are called Bogeys.” He absorbed it all in the first pass or two. Now he watches each sequence intently with his toy fighter jets assembled nearby, his favorite blue metal F-16 in hand.

And then comes the real beating: he has to confirm all that he knows by asking us questions about every facet of the scene. “Is that the good guy?” Yes, Jacob. “Is that the boogie?” Yes, Jacob, that’s the bogey. “Is he going to land on the aircraft carrier?” Yes, Jacob. “Is he going to take a picture?” Yes, Jacob. “Is that pilot scared” Yes, Jacob. “Is he thinking about his wife and baby boy?” Yes, Jacob. “Did that plane just CRASH? (punctuated with vigorous re-enactments with his toy plane.) Yes, Jacob. “Where’s Maverick?” He’s coming, Jacob, just watch it.

And admittedly, the language used in the midst of high pressure, life risking aerial dogfights is of a different, um, style than what is used in, say, the children’s cartoon, Caillou. We have pointed out to Jacob that if we hear any of those words come from him or from Toby, they will never see that movie again. Period.

And so, where once there were whales, and more recently there were dinosaurs, we are now on to fighter jets as the object of Jacob’s compulsive interest. He asked Stephanie recently if they could look for pictures of aircraft carriers on the computer. I know this because I opened up my laptop recently to discover about ten different pages of images of the various aircraft carriers in the US Naval fleet.

And while Jamiee may not know what I’m talking about, at least Jacob will understand me when he asks to watch the fighter jet movie for the umpteenth time, and tell him lovingly, “Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full.” 

Posted on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 11:27AM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell in | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

I feel the need...the need for speed!
August 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

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