Friday, March 23, 2012

Why I Love Al Pacino

Man, oh man, do I love Al Pacino.

I love him for his decision to wear what looks like a necktie knotted around his head these days. Whether this choice of headgear is edgy or just plain awful, only Michael Corleone could try it and not get arrested for vagrancy.

I love him for for making an entire movie in which he plays a blind man who constantly yells something like, and spelling is not my strong point, "WHO-aah!" every time he wants to emphasize a point. It takes guts to be that annoying for a solid one and a half hours. Just ask Billy Bob Thornton.

But mostly, I love Al Pacino because, as I learned listening to the director's commentary of The Godfather, Pacino didn't learn to drive until he was an adult. For all I know, Mr. Pacino still can't drive either, God love him.

But Suze, I hear you muttering to yourself over your coffee/tea/barely legal substance. Why do you care whether or not some movie star who wears neckties around his head can drive or not? Don't you have a life, even for a blogger?

And what do you mean, "either"?

Let me explain. You're about to discover something about me that only my entire family, a phalanx of good and trusted friends, a handful of enemies, a group of strangers at a party I attended a few years ago, and a former boyfriend who, due to witnessing without warning the reason why I choose not to drive, probably hasn't blinked his eyes in unison since the 80's, know.

But I'm not going to use the real name for this condition because some of my family still fears that I can be hurt by the stigma that this condition still carries.

I say the only good stigma is a dead stigma.

So in deference to my family, I'll give you a rhyming hint.

I have pepilepsy.

Now, mind you, my pepileptic peizures have been few and far apart. Legally, I have been able to drive for decades. But there are downsides to having a reporter for a husband (No! Really?) and one of them is the ability, after several unrelated dinner conversations, to see your worst nightmares in headline form. This nightmare reads:


In a related story to this nightmare, burning at the stake, drawing and quartering, and the guillotine are all unanimously voted into use in the US. In my case, simultaneously.

The problem is that it is relatively easy to explain why you are most things in this country, because this is a tolerant country. (Does not apply in cases where you are, or might appear to be: African-American, African-American, male, young, and armed with smack foods, Middle Eastern, Greek, Spanish, Asian, Gay, Lesbian, Trans-Gendered, Have a skin tone darker than a gramhe cracker, adhere to a religion that is not Christianity, or speak with an accent.)

What you cannot confess to in the land of the free is not knowing how to drive. I have female friends who cheered long and hard when Lorena Bobbitt severed her husband's genitalia clean off and threw it into a field in the middle of the night. These same women regard me as a charity case because I chose long ago not to drive.

It is indeed a dark and mysterious universe.

When confronted with these pro-driving zealots, I used to be honest to the point of pain. I said all of the following, in no particular order: I have pepilepsy. I haven't had trouble with it in decades, I just don't think I belong behind the wheel of a car. No, I don't feel like a loser. No, I don't feel sorry for myself. No, please don't feel sorry for me. No, I don't feel like I have no life. Wow, is that the time? I really should be...No, I do feel like an adult. I do feel free, thank you. I do just fine, thanks. I take buses. Or I walk. Buses. You've heard of buses? Big, loud.... Oh, you're afraid to take buses? Why th- I mean, why on earth are you afraid to take a bus? Of, course, I apologize, that really is none of my business.

In the director's commentary to The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppella repeats a comment made to him by Al Pacino during the filming of Michael Corleone's wedding in Italy. The scene calls for Corleone to dance with his new bride and then get in a car and drive away with her. Before shooting the scene, Pacino said to the director, "I'm from the Bronx, and people from the Bronx don't drive."

So now, when confronted with a a situation in which a driving disclosure is called for, I stand up straight, look my inquisitor in the eye, and say, "Well, originally, you see, I'm from the Bronx...."

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