Ten ways movies and television have warped my reality

Yesterday morning as I walked my dogs, the route was eerily quiet and desolate. Not a single deer, car, or neighbor crossed my path. Planes usually criss-crossing the sky were absent. As I walked, I couldn't help but think that maybe the apocalypse had occurred and somehow I'd not been informed.

Crazy, I know, but that's the way my mind works, thanks to watching too many movies and too much television during my formative years. Heck, during all my years, if truth be told. Not a day passes by that cinematic moments don't creep into my thoughts. To wit:

(Clicking the arrows by each movie title shows that clip on this page.)

1. Something akin to yesterday's apocalyptic fears happened once while undergoing an MRI. I hate the procedure—the closed-in space, the loud noises. But because I have MS, I've had a few done on my brain over the years. Gah! The machine clangs and bangs while I'm stuck deep within, unable to move for fear I'll screw up the expensive test. Once, the long and loud banging and clanging became so disconcerting that I reached near panic, fearing a scene from a disaster film (think Earthquake, Independence Day, Armageddon) occurred while I was in the machine, and the medical staff had dashed from the building, leaving me alone. At just the moment I planned my escape and exit, the attendant called through the intercom, "You're just about done, Lisa, just a few more minutes." Sweet relief!

2. When I first started my job at the newspaper, I envisioned my workdays would be similar to scenes from Lou Grant or Mary Tyler Moore. So not the case. I knew I wasn't alone in my illusions of newsrooms and the impact of cinema, though, when a goofy deejay from a local radio station whom I escorted through the department after an interview turned to the sea of reporters' desks and faux cried out, "You gotta tell 'em! Soylent green is people!!"

3. Meeting new acquaintances can be awkward when I'm introduced to someone named Ben, as I immediately think of the boy and his rat buddy in Ben. Or when the person is named Charlie and I can't help but imagine Eric Roberts crying to Mickey Rourke about his thumb being nabbed in The Pope of Greenwich Village. At least I never forget the name of Ben or Charlie, though, even long after meeting them.

4. My first thought when my sister told me there is a (perfectly legal) family burial ground on her property was of Pet Sematary.

5. I can't hear Beethoven's Fifth without thinking of Saturday Night Fever.

6. Used to be when I'd consider tightie-whities—which I assure you isn't often!—Tom Cruise in Risky Business would come to mind. Now I can't shake the image of Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad.

7. Similarly, pea soup makes me think of Linda Blair and The Exorcist; excessive flies on a window elicit visions of James Brolin and Amityville Horror; and wax museums remind me of Vincent Price and House of Wax.

8. I've never looked out a plane window at the wing without thinking of gremlins upon it, á la The Twilight Zone. Nor have I ever not considered Fearless with Jeff Bridges when unexpected turbulence mid-flight elicits exclamations of various sorts from fellow passengers (and myself, I admit).

9. I try not to, but I can't help but think of Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan each time I use an air dryer in a public restroom.

10. I also can't help but think of The Waltons every single time we have overnight house guests and everyone heads off to bed. I just wait for the "Goodnight, John Boy"...which usually comes by way of Jim, for he's warped in much the same fashion as I.

There are more—far more—I promise you. I'll stop there, though, lest you think of Sally Field from Sybil each time you consider Lisa from Grandma's Briefs.

photo: stock.xchng

Today's question:

What movies or television shows have warped your reality?