>"Holy Baptism, Batman", and the Transformers

>I flew into Boston Saturday night to partake in the Christening of my God son, Dylan Francis, on Sunday.

Dylan spends his days expelling various substances in the form of spitup, poop, and tears. I’m pretty sure I can beat him at any XBox game, though he certainly would win a projectile vomitting contest. That gives him the edge, because he will may grow up to be an excellent xbox player, but I will never be able to projectile vomit like he.
Per norm, I bought the congratulations card Sunday morning. I was unable to find a non-religious god son card, which put me in something of a quandry. From a capitalist perspective, I may have stumbled upon an untapped niche market. (You may think that’s silly, but Christmas is supposed to be a religious event, and there are plenty non-religious cards.) I had a hard time determining if Christening and Baptism are the same thing. I decided they were and, luckily, I guessed correctly.

The ceremony started at about 1:15pm. We made the sign of the cross a few times, lit some candles, poured some water, and were generally religious aout the whole thing. Dylan kept quiet, though the same can’t be said of the other participants. There was a fair amount of wailing.

We then proceeded to Amy and Danny’s house to enjoy meatballs, cold cut sandwiches, salads of the potato and macaroni varieties, and a wide selection of beverages. Jesus would approve.
A lot of family was there. I spent a long time talking with my cousin Shanna, which was fun. She’s a teacher now and once referred to herself as “Ms. French”. Everyone’s all grown up now.
Cousin Karen and Aunt Marie were there with a herd of kids. Karen thought it would be a good idea to where white pants to an outdoor party loaded with children. Though Karen is generally considered to be a smart cookie, I question the wisdom of her wardrobe choice. I credit Amy with that observation.

Aunt Marie made the mistake of asking what I do for a living. I made the mistake of answering her. Her eyes glossed over in disinterest, and she went to a special place in her head. Then she informed me that, in fact, she does exactly the same thing as I do. I told her I know and she was my inspiration. The duel of wits ended in a draw.

Uncle Mark and I spoke about the glory of Microsoft for quite a while. He’s of the X-Files “trust no one” mentality. As soon as he has a feasible non-Microsoft option, he’ll go that route. In the meantime, I’ll embrace it and get giddy every time they release something new. Sure, Vista brings my machine to its knees every time I turn it on. But will I uninstall it? No. Vista is the latest thing. Of course I have to have it installed. He raised an interesting point that .NET is named in a way that’s not very consumer friendly. Maybe they should rename it to “Microsoft Bob”. However, the fact is that whether you want or understand .NET, it will make it onto your windows platform sooner or later. Resistance is futile.

The day wasn’t without reprimand. Chris asked if it would be tacky for him take a plate of food home. I responded by asking if it would be tacky for me to kick him in the nuts. I was advised that my comment was inappropriate in the presence of children. However, my pre-statement recon of the immediate population revealed that there weren’t any children, so I believe the chiding was unnecessary and probably based on reflex more than consideration of the actual evidence. Chris took a plate home, as did I, so we can all enjoy the leftovers and put the incident behind us.

Aunt Linda gave me and update of her clan. Brian is managing a bar; Keith is working his way into the management circles at furniture company; Douglas is working as a union laborer for Chris’s company. It’s good to hear everyone is doing well.

I spent some time with Danny’s family. Beth, Laura, John, Mary. They’re always thoughtful and ask about Gina. Incidentally, Beth is the God mother, so we spent some quality time together making the sign of the cross. Laura and I talked about Zarex, the tip top market, and facets of a Somerville upbringing. Mary shared some pool critter experiences. I’ve had a couple of these myself, but hers were more extreme and taught me that true familial love can exist between a skunk and her offspring.

And I’d be remiss without mentioning the quality time spent with Amy and Danny. It was limited due to their hosting responsibilities, but as the party wrapped up had a good conversation. We usually end up reflecting on the joys of our childhood. Tonights topics included bunk beds, extreme temperatures in pre-air conditioning days, and sheets that serve as walls to split one bedroom into two.

And lastly, it’s always a pleasure to hang out with Kerry. She quickly proved that she could probably emabrass me on a basketball court. (But, can she beat Dylan at projectile vomiting? I don’t know.)

Hopefully I didn’t miss anyone. If I think of something key, I’ll have to update this real quick and hope that person hasn’t already read this. If I’m too late, then please accept my apologies.
Jonathon (my 10 year old nephew) and I left the party at about 8pm. We closed the joint. We were lost at 8:02. I drove blindly on the theory that every road leads to somewhere and I eventually made it back to known territory. I didn’t know the quickest way back from said known territory, but at least I knew where we were. I attemped to engage Johnathon in conversation about the current difficulties we face in Iraq, Afghanistan, and yes, the middle east in general. I think we were making some real progress in solving said problems, but the conversation eventually turned to the Transformers. After a few moments of discussing the finer points of autobots and decepticons, I learned that Jonathon, my own flesh and blood (by relation) had not seen the 1986 animated movie. In fact, he didn’t know it existed.
So began what shall be known to all those that follow me, “The Trek”. 8pm Sunday night is not the best time to set out on this type of adventure, but we did anyway. A great injustice had become known, and it was my responsibility as uncle, a transformers fan, and, gosh darn it, a good human being, to set things straight. We immediately proceeded to a conveniently located Super Target. I explained the situation to the salesman, and he was as shocked and disgusted as I was. He immediately went to the computer, found the location of the movie, and proceeded to the designated shelf space. It was empty. The salesman offered to assemble a team of people to fan out across the state and find a copy for me, but I promised him that wouldn’t be necessary. I had heard the calling. Could it be coincidence on the very day that one nephew gets welcomed into the kingdom of god, that I learn another nephew has been denied access to Tranformers the Movie? Hardly. Today was to be a day of days.

We proceeded to Walmart. It was closed. We had been smited. If the possibility of a Walmart being closed had crossed my mind while we were at Target, I would’ve pruchased a crowbar and a ski mask so that I could infiltrate Walmart. This was a holy mission. Any such travestys would be forgiven.

The next attempt was at a location that we will for the purposes of identification call Blockbuster, but for the puposes of significance will forevermore be known as Mecca. From a distance, it looked like it was closed, so I stood on the brake for several seconds while revving the engine. At last, I released, and we launched forward with the intention of busting through the display window and, in particular, the Hannibal Rising poster. The 99 Chrysler Concorde launched forward as if a holy arrow that cannot miss. At the last second, I noticed that the establishment’s lights were on, there were people walking in and out, there were a lot of cars, and other symptoms that suggested it was open. I was able to decellerate without incident thus sparing the establishment (and Hannibal Rising) the impact of the holy arrow.
we entered the facility with full confidence that we were about to take possession. “Transformers the Movie” would elude us no more. That confidence proved justified when, at last, we found the movie in the family section. But our trials were not over, for only the most earnest and reverent are destined to watch this movie. My Florida membership card could not be used in Massachussetts, so I would have to register for a new card. My preference was to by the movie which would symbolically and lawfully cement our commitment to the film. The clerk (whom we will call Judas) determined that there were 2 new copies available, so purchase was a viable option and, more importantly, eliminated the need for paperwork. Finding the two copies proved to be a challenge. They weren’t where they belonged, which I found hard to believe. How could an business full of mimimum wage 16 year olds possibly be disorganized? We searched viligantly in all the right places, but could not find the 2 retail copies. At last we concurred that we’d have to do it the hard way; create a new membership. Just as we committed to the unthinkable, the ceiling split in two and heavenly rays burst through to illuminate the two mssing copies; the angels beckoned, and Jonathon heard the call, for it was he who on this 24th day of the 6 month of the two thousand and seventh year of our lord reached out and grasped our holy grail; he held it high and proud and reverently, and declared from the mountain top for all to hear, “Found it”.

How was it that he, a child, was able to find the movie when I could not? Is it the product of the innocence of youth, or does God just like him better? Dare I suggest the possibility that he just happened to look at the “Varsity Blues” section and it just happened to be there? While I spent my time looking under “T” and “Family”, and the clerk wasted his time looking where the computer said it would be? Should the clerk and I both been insightful enough to start looking in the “crappy MTV movies” section? We may never know why the events played out the way they did, but our faith does not require us to understand; it only requires us to disregard science. It is through faith and only faith that we finally obtained that which we sought.
We returned to the abode and fired up the movie. We earned it. It was fun watching the movie through Jonathon’s eyes. First of all, its 20 years old. It looks and sounds like its 20 years old, which isn’t a bad thing, but its certainly different than what kids now expect fom cartoons. Jonathon is very familiar with the Transfomers of his generation, but not those of mine. When autobots started dying, he was suitably shocked, When Unicron ate a planet, he was surprised. When Optimus prime died, he didn’t care. He simply stated “he’s obviously going to come back to life.” I corrected him: Optimus Prime is dead and he’s going to stay dead. That produced the wide eyes of disbelieve that should’ve been there to begin with. When one of the dinobots shot a burst of flames at a Decepticon, he declared something along the lines of “Awesome, dude!”. when Unicron rebuilt the battered decepticons, he was excited. When Galvatron destroyed Star Scream, Jonathon now understood that dead means dead, and he appreciated it at face value. I believe the term used was “sweet”. When the autobot space ship broke up in battle, he gasped aloud. When Hot Rod and Kup crashed onto the sharkicon planet, he recognized she Sharkicons. I warned him about that earlier because he sharkicons are the lowpoint of the film. His expectations were duly set. When the rest of the gang crashed into the planet of junk, he fell asleep. It was a long day for all of us, and that was enough for one night.

I think he genuinely enjoyed as much as we’ve watched so far, and I loved watching it with him. I was older than he is when I first saw it. I don’t think I had the wide-eyed amazment that he has. To me, there was only group of transformers (gobots don’t count, so get that dirty thought out of your head). To him, there are tons of transformers. The franchise has been reinvented more than once. The toys are different, the cartoons are different, and so are a lot of the characters. The original generation is new to him. The new generations are foreign to me. At one point he asked, “Since when does megatron have a sword?” and I responded “Since 1986”. He got my meaning and I sense at that point he came to appreciate what I’ve been attempting to describe; everything he knew about this facet of our culture was based on 20 year old stories the he didn’t know anything about. This is the origin that occurred years before he was born, and this is his first exposure to it. We’ve begun to bridge the gap.

Jonathon watched the rest of the movie on his own early the following morning. I was still out cold after a long night of typing most of what you just read. He said he liked the movie a lot, and had a few comments about Rodimus. I would’ve liked to watch it with him, though, to get his genuine reactions.

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