Saturday, February 04, 2006
He is Magnificent. I am miserable.
Patton: Rommel, you magnificent bastard. I read your book.
Years ago, when I was a student at the superior University of Victoria, my friend Ian would constantly quote George C. Scott from PATTON.
Peter, you magnificent bastard this and Peter, you magnificent bastard that. Good times. I was a total George C. Scott fan, but that was a result of THE CHANGELING and FIRESTARTER...nothing on the class tip, like PATTON. Shoot, I think homeboy was even in the EXORCIST 3...with that scene with the woman in the hospital walking across the hall very quickly with a pair of scissors.
So the in-laws were in town a few months back, and I re-calibrated NETFLIX to accommodate them. PATTON was on the list. So we watched it. I think we all watched it 2x. Including Luther. The quote around our "profanity fee zone" was "Rommel, you magnificent basket! I read your book!" Isn't language fun. Rhetoric and the games we play with it around here make me laugh sometimes.
PATTON is a good flick. George C. Scott holds it down. Of course, I was waiting and waiting for the quote that Ian used to always drop, and when it showed up, I was one happy bastard.
I have since adopted the quote and throw it at everyone in my life who is "magnificent bastard status". There are a lot of them. One of them is this guy in my life named Peter.
Peter is truly a magnificent bastard. He is a bachelor in his 50s. He just doesn't care. I have spent a little time with him here and there. Peter rides a Harley and seems like one of the more jovial individuals in Hunter S. Thompson's HELL'S ANGELS. Oh there is a history of womanizing and hard partying in his stride. The man was obviously a severely disciplined, hedonistic soldier at one time. I really don't think that there is any malice in Peter, he is just a free spirit, getting over on the system.
So the other day, I referred to him as a magnificent bastard. He laughed, but I think he took offense. So I broke it down to him. Yes, he had seen PATTON. Yes, he said that he remembered the scene where PATTON said the beautiful quote. Soon afterward, my trouble began.
From that point on, every time he sees me, he calls me a "miserable bastard". He thinks he is still on the original quote. So I have thrown it back at him.
"Peter, you magnificent bastard," I say, in closing, or upon greeting. I have said it to him several times in the past few days. But he isn't heeding the correction.
"Peter, you miserable bastard." is what I am getting back. And when I get it back, I am getting the glint in the eye that says that we are on some inside joke stuff. But now I am at a loss. The game has suddenly gotten too complex for me and my introspective ways and perhaps he is right, maybe I am a miserable bastard after all. Maybe whatever he is saying to me is accurate, and he has some insight into my psyche and my being that I haven't seen. I truly felt that when I called him a magnificent bastard, that the man was magnificent. I still think so. He is an island to himself. And you had better row like a Viking is whipping your back if you want to keep up with him. Perhaps he is being sincere in what he says when he refers to me as miserable. Perhaps that is the inside joke. I see him as truly magnificent, and he sees me as truly miserable. I hope I am wrong. Whatever the case may be, I will have to think hard about the next magnificent bastard I refer to as a magnificent bastard. They might be so magnificent that they are able to change the very peace within me and cause me to post a blog as raw as this one.
"Peter, you miserable bastard."
How the hell does he live his life misquoting George C. Scott like that?
The only way he can do it is if he truly is as magnificent as I think he is.