Life Lessons from “The Princess Bride”
If you have been a fan of the movie “The Princess Bride” the way I have [the book is even funnier, if you can believe it]: you are likely to use a line from it [although none of us can be the walking talking movie-quote library that Troy is] from time to time. The first of its quotes that is near and dear to the abesheet heart, ofcourse, is: “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something”. I have had a chance to use “It’s not my fault being the biggest and the strongest. I don’t even exercise.” on Troy [or he used it on me, don’t remember which] on a Tennis court. Have made friends smile, those friends who tut-tutted my inability to be a silly romantic that [they probably feel] all women are [should be], with “There is nothing better than true love in the whole world. Except a nice MLT. Mutton, lettuce, and tomato when the mutton is nice and lean and the lettuce is nice and crisp” and yelled “Why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice on it!” when that love turns sour – as loves most often do.
The line: “People in masks cannot be trusted” hasn’t made it to my vocabulary that often. Since I haven’t been or hoped to be a guest at a fancy dress ball [or Halloween] party, I didn’t think there would be an instance in which it would come handy. Then I was asked to wear an Easter Bunny outfit for an office function on April 20. There would be, I was warned, a lot of children, a lot of mothers wanting me to hold their children, and adults behaving like kids. I cannot talk. I cannot laugh. And I can’t bring my hands anywhere near their privates, or even give them hugs unless specifically asked by the person or parent for the purpose of taking pictures.
I was told to look out for ass-grabbers [and alarm security if felt threatened], to make sure the costume stays in place from head to toe and to being inconvenienced by the inability to pee without disrobing. But mostly I was told how hot it was going to be. “My” head, though with a pronounced smile painted on it, was made of fur. A fur head stuffed with all kind of gadgets that would render the human face behind the mask completely invisible. It was also heavy on the shoulder. And since I can’t lift it to drink water without scarring growing children to life; I was meant to suffocate and sweat like the dickens until the allotted brake-time arriveth.
Which I did.
To the casual observer, there I was.. waving, hopping back at every child that pretended to hop at the sight of me and putting both my hands infront of my smiling mouth to show shock or happy surprise. I pretended to blush or gave thumbs up every time somebody hugged me or said they loved me. When kids screamed at the sight of me, or a grown up man walked by me with stiff shoulders (“He doesn’t like Easter bunnies”, wife or girlfriend would explain. The old “I hate rats” syndrome -also a synonym for “I can’t be around rats/clowns because they scare me shitless but I am not man enough to admit it”) I roll hands under my “eyes” to show being hurt. I gave candies. I blew kisses. I protested being lifted by some jocks from the Netherlands with the wild gesture of a bunny short of a bush to dash into. On the inside, however, I was cursing the sweat the was washing my face and burning my eyes.. gnashing the teeth from both the head-ache and the stupidity of some folks and suggesting men and women get bent whenever they act too good to stand beside a fake bunny for the camera. All this.. while wearing a big smile and a happy countenance.
“I will never trust people wearing masks”, I commented, someberly studying my form in the mirror while a security guard/feet guide was busy pinning my shirt under the costume in such a way that nobody would know it was there. That’s when that quote from “The Princess Bride” came to me. I realized I may have erred in assuming the quote was only relevant to people wearing masks and/or those around them. That it may be referring to the masks we wear every day. To one in particular: the smile mask.
You see, deep down, I have always known not to trust people who laugh easily and long. I have viewed it as a defect, either the absence of a functional brain or cover for the dishonest heart. That is why I have always been attracted to people with sour faces and unhappy dispositions. Because they were wearing their hearts on their sleeves, as the saying goes, honest like. Telling passers-by to take it or chuck it.
I haven’t looked favorably at people who laugh easily and long- I said. But I haven’t gone so far as to suppose there was anything particularly sinister about them. That hot afternoon, however, in my smiling head, and furry outfit, I did. True, Americans didn’t choose to wear smiling masks as part of the daily life by choice. What with capitalism, integration and civil rights movement; wearing agreeable masks have become a necessary evil to return home in one piece around here. And …. if we came down to it, isn’t life.. isn’t society … a sort of fancy dress ball; where we go out wearing clothes, looks and attitudes we believe would give a certain impression to onlookers – with “manufactured identities” – as somebody more educated than me called it? Indeed, haven’t we been told by Morgnstern how masks were “terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future.”?!
Alas.. after that day.. people who smile easily I no longer saw as men and women trying to live in peace with their neighbors or even folks trying to sell something. I started seeing them as men and women who aren’t showing their real emotions. [Neighbors who may be hiding a “finger”, a sneer, a dagger]. Exaggeration much, as Blen would say? Maybe. But let us say you were walking down a dark alley and you see a man wearing a mask walking towards you. Then another chap… wearing a smile. Who are you likely to want to forge alliances with in the hope of saving your hide?! Dark stranger #2, right?. Alas the first guy may have easily been burnt by acid. The second… who knows what he was burnt with?
Me? I will take my chances with the first guy. Unless.. ofcourse.. he started with “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
In which case, “there’s usually only one thing you can do. .. Go through his clothes and look for loose change.”
Entry filed under: Latest Posts. Tags: billy crystal, easter bunny, funny movie quotes, masks, Movie quotes, movies and real life, rob reiner, s morgenstern, the man in the iron mask, the mask of zorro, The princess bride, william goldwin.