I Asked For A Mission…

My favorite movie of all time is “Apocalypse Now”. How much do I love this movie? I own five different Blu-Ray/DVD/4K UHD sets of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece that resets Joseph Conrad’s classic “Heart of Darkness” against the backdrop of the Vietnam War.

And two of those “Apocalypse” video sets are exactly the same. This is what happens when you “lose” your “Full Disclosure” Blu-Ray set…Only to find it a year later when you are taking out your Christmas decorations and you discover that you mistakenly packed it away with all your Christmas classics. And as much as I love “Apocalypse”, Col. Kurtz & Co. have no place next to Jimmy Stewart and “It’s A Wonderful Life”.

One of the numerous things that stands out about “Apocalypse” is its dialogue. John Milius, the movie’s screenwriter, really was robbed when he didn’t go home with a statuette on Oscar night back in 1980. Lines like “Charlie don’t surf!”, “Terminate…With extreme prejudice,” “Saigon…Shit,” and, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning”` are among the most-memorable in Hollywood history. I use these phrases liberally, and often leave the people to whom I am speaking looking confused about  what I have said. Let’s be honest: “Apocalypse Now” isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. It’s between 2.5 and almost 3.5 hours long, depending on which version you are watching, and it’s not the kind of movie that just shows up in reruns too often.

For me, one of the “Apocalypse Lines” that resonates profoundly is when Martin Sheen’s Captain Willard says, in voiceover, “Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission. And for my sins, they gave me one.” It’s another way of saying, “Careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”

It seems like there have been so many times when I have wanted something to happen, or have finally been able to do something I want, and things have gone along just fine—nothing but rainbows and kittens and Boston’s “More Than A Feeling” playing in the air—only to have things go drastically sideways. The rainbow is replaced by a tornado, the kittens turn into mangey feral felines and someone tears up “More Than A Feeling” by dragging the stereo’s needle across the record.

For example…

Both my wife and I have gotten our Covid-19 vaccinations. And for the last two months, I have kept my Get-Out-Of-Covid-Jail-Free Card in my wallet. However, the card didn’t fit perfectly, and I had to fold over the top third of the card so it wouldn’t stick out of my wallet. I felt that over time, this would wear on the card, and I decided to take it, and my wife’s vaccination card, to get laminated in order to preserve their lives.

I went to our local print shop, got the cards laminated, and all was going well. Until it didn’t. And the following happened.

—I picked up our freshly laminated vaccination cards.

—I drove back to the local “village” near our house.

—I parked my car outside a bookstore.

—I walked down the street, turned right at the corner, walked some more, then turned right, again, and went to at Thai restaurant to pick up a Thai Iced Tea for my wife just because I am the best damn husband in the world.

—I went back to my car and drove back home.

—I gave my wife her Thai Iced Tea, which she received with glee.

—I reached into my pocket to take out our vaccination cards.

—But, I only had by wife’s vaccination card in my pocket.

—I then frantically tore through every pocket of the shorts I was wearing.

—I then frantically tore through my car, finding a missing Yeti coffee mug in the process, but not my Covid vaccination card.

—I then went back inside and proceeded to unleash a string of expletives and self-flagellation so loud and brutal that it’s amazing none of the neighbors called the police to complain about it.

—I then got back in the car, with my wife behind the wheel, to go see if by any chance God was actually on my side and would allow me to find my now-missing Covid vaccination card.

—I then repeated the swearing and self-flagellation, at airplane-takeoff volume level, all the way back to where I had earlier parked.

—I was then nearly struck completely dumb when my wife pulled up to not only where I had earlier parked, but found the space empty and…

—There was my Covid vaccination card on the ground, where it had somehow fallen out of my pocket about 15 minutes earlier.

—We then drove back home, with my wife behind the wheel because I was still running a pulse like that of a thoroughbred that had just won the Kentucky Derby.

—Where, up arrival, I went inside and cracked open an Aslan Brewing Co. Mosaic India Pale Ale (6.8% ABV) to drink as I attempted to decompress from the prior half hour or so of utter panic and ridiculousness.

It was my mission. And, my obliviousness to dropping my vaccination card on the ground notwithstanding, I had completed it. But, I can say that I am not seeking another one anytime soon. 

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