When I was 11 my father took me on his motorcycle to go see a movie. It was Orca, and the experience on the highway was a little bit more exciting than the actual film. It was the only time I had ever been on a motorbike.
Not soon after my uncle was in a motorcycle accident—on that same highway coincidentally, route 17 in New Jersey—and he was mangled pretty badly, he and his girlfriend who was on the back. My uncle’s bike was rammed sideward by a car that went through a red light, and he kicked at the oncoming car to save them, which shattered his leg in several places.
I was never big on motorcycles again after seeing the damage and painful recovery. Movies, however, were a far safer avenue. This was, after all, the year of Star Wars.
This Father’s Day my old man is still around. He made it through the heart surgery, the vindictive power-mad nurses, and he still lugs around a massive hernia. He spends most of his time watching a screen, and so I sent him the Rocky DVD set, a bunch of movies that I know he likes. They’re sports movies with an Italian protagonist, a simple underdog, and all about overcoming adversity when the odds are stacked against you.
The very first Rocky film is the best one, in my opinion, and the later ones really milked that moose dry. Word back is that he was overjoyed. I don’t think he’s seen any of them in thirty years. Let’s hope the power of story infects him and he ends up running up some stairs eventually.