I posted this one year ago today, which already seems like a thousand years, but that is the nature of time. I’ve added some notes in brackets. Enjoy.
As you are probably aware, tomorrow, October 21, 2015, will be the day that Marty McFly traveled to in Back to the Future II, and I’m not ready.
By “not ready” I don’t mean I can’t handle it. I mean it in the sense that it’s like the Halloween costume I haven’t planned. It’s the exam I didn’t study for until the last minute. Years ago I would have said, “It’s an Interview and I didn’t shave,” but that may not make sense anymore.
It’s highly possible that some of you haven’t even seen this film, and I implore you to drop everything and go watch all three right now. The first film, as 1980s adventure/comedies go, is right up there with essentials such as Ghostbusters or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The much awaited sequel, which lent tomorrow’s often-Internet-hoaxed-but-still-hallowed day, came out on November 22, 1989, the day before my birthday. The third film, while arguably the weakest of the three, still holds up to repeat viewings and features an anxiety inducing locomotive race-against-time. Some of you may have seen that train sitting next to a tarnished DeLorean at Universal Studios. I have. It’s a mock-up with Alan Silvestri’s score pumping out of it, but I must admit that I got chills when I stood beside it in the 95° Florida sun.
I don’t want to make this some long screed about what the future should have been, because that’s not what the movies were about anyway. They were about how our decisions affect our lives and, repeatedly, about how those decisions, when made out of blind greed or anger, have long lasting repercussions for not only us, but the people around us. We can post all the clickbait articles in the world about what the films got wrong but I think we might be missing what they got right, and it’s not the Cubs’ chances at the World Series. [This is relevant in 2016 for more reasons than the Cubs being in the World Series again.]
Maybe this only means something to people over a certain age, and that’s okay. I’m glad that I experienced something that I hold dear first hand, with precious people, some of whom are no longer with us. You Star Wars guys know what I’m talking about, and I hope that trailer last night brought back some of that wonder. It did for me, and it’s about damned time. [So far your future is looking bright, SW fans. ST is all weird and we’ve gone almost a year without Doctor Who (don’t yell at me, greybeards). At least there’s Marvel and DC television. Nerds will survive.]
That’s the wonder I try to hang on to, through the scary and the ugly and the mundane. I think we all need a wonder injection from time to time but they can be hard to come by. I think of my children being born, of Sam Neill whipping off his sunglasses in Jurassic Park, of a whale breaching right behind our fishing boat in Bristol Bay. Things real and unreal. This is how we keep going.
On the day after tomorrow, we’ll have traveled one day further than Marty did. Then another, and another. Behind us will be not a day unprepared for, or a party gone off half-cocked, but a milestone. One of many. What lies before us?
Well, if my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour you’re gonna see some serious shit.
[Oh my. We have, and we are. Godspeed.]