BUELLER? BUELLER?

By Judy Berman

Playing hooky. Taking a mental health day off from work. Did you ever wish you played it like Ferris Bueller? Breaking all the rules. Cool, charming and utterly over-the-top outrageous. That escapism appeals to me.

What would that innocent-looking scamp be up to today? Maybe he’d kick it up a notch when he ditches work.

A short clip of an ad that will run during the Super Bowl on Feb. 5th is already teasing the audience about the prospects of a grown-up Bueller. Matthew Broderick, who played Ferris in John Hughes’ 1986 film, will be 50 in March. (The complete ad was released Monday, Jan. 30th, after I wrote this. Its link has been added below.)

Broderick is at it again. Just like Bueller did in the opening of the movie, Broderick opens the curtains and looks directly at the camera. He confides to the audience, “How can I handle work on a day like today?”

I skipped work once when I was about 21 at my first job. Like Bueller, I also headed downtown. No, I didn’t jump on a parade float as Ferris did and serenade the crowd with Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen” or The Beatles’ version of “Twist and Shout.”

But there was a crowd. It was lunchtime, and among those milling about the shoppers was my boss – an older gent.

We briefly exchanged glances. I had on shades and a white winter parka. I continued walking with my friends, hoping – no, fervently praying – that he’d think he must be mistaken.

When I returned to work the next day, my boss never quizzed me about my absence. We never talked about this. But I didn’t repeat that escapade ever again in ANY of my jobs.

I still aspire to be Ferris, to have his savoir faire in dealing with a snooty waiter at an exclusive restaurant. Or in putting one over on the school dean as Ferris did to his, Edward R. Rooney, played by Jeffrey Jones. Rooney is bound and determined to catch Ferris and end the teen’s deception once and for all.

Ferris wasn’t the only one in the film milking an opportunity. He convinced his best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck), to let him borrow his Dad’s prized convertible, a 1961 Ferrari GT California. (“The insert shots of the Ferrari were of the real 250 GT California,” Hughes explains in a DVD commentary, according to Wikipedia. “The cars we used in the wide shots were obviously reproductions. There were only 100 of these cars, so it was way too expensive to destroy.”)

Someone as devious as Ferris couldn’t wait to get his hands on that hot convertible’s steering wheel. The teens – Ferris, Cameron and Ferris’ girlfriend, Sloane Peterson (played by Mia Sara) – dropped the car off at a parking garage. Then, a scheme worthy of Ferris quickly unfolded. Ferris and friends barely had their backs turned when the garage attendants peeled out of the garage and took the rare car for a joy ride. As they did, Yello’s “Oh, Yeah” blared thru the streets.

An enviable heist. It was returned unharmed. But the garage attendants had racked up several hundred miles on the odometer.

Ferris, whatever you might be up to, I hope it’s another glorious romp. If it is, I’d love to be along for the ride.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Photo: of Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferris_Bueller

Yello’s “Oh, Yeah” music video:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Yello+Oh+Yeah+Ferris+Bueller+video&mid=EAB5AA7D103A829F7731EAB5AA7D103A829F7731&view=detail&FORM=VIRE1

The full ad was revealed Monday, Jan. 30th. (This is in no way an endorsement of any product. The reveal is just to show you what will be on Super Bowl on Sunday that was the subject of my original blog.)

http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=699644

“Downtown” and December

by Judy Berman  

There’s a jukebox in my head. When a certain tune plays on that virtual soundtrack, it takes me back.

Some songs are like worm-holes. They take you to a time and place you don’t want to return to. I won’t mention them for fear that they will be like an endless tape-loop in your brain. Oh, what the heck. “It’s a Small World After All.” I’ve seen grown-ups run from the room screaming in anguish, knowing that they will be mindlessly humming that tune all day because it’s now imbedded in their head.

Others may stir up memories that deposit you gently in a nostalgic setting and lift you out of a bluesy-funk. For me, December and Petula Clark’s “Downtown” will be forever intertwined. Both link to my first apartment when I moved away from home. The tune was upbeat. It made me feel less lonely and very hopeful about my new digs.

Envision this: I moved from the country into an apartment in Syracuse, N.Y. At night the old, run-down house looked like the one behind the Bates Motel in the movie “Psycho.”  Uninviting, foreboding. I would have to share the bathroom with some stranger – some unknown tenant who would live across the hall from my third-floor, walk-up apartment.

Why was it, again, that I was making this move? That question, among others, raced through my mind that December evening as I trudged up the stairs carrying my belongings.

At a small table, in my sparsely decorated one-room apartment, I watched sadly as my Dad backed up his Volkswagen. Snowflakes fell more furiously as he drove off. It was about two weeks before Christmas, and my parents would be moving to another state in less than two months.

A tiny snow globe on the table was my only holiday decoration.

I was 21 and eager to be on my own. But I was torn between celebrating my newfound independence and leaving the security of my parents’ home. It’s the flight that most of us feel we have to take to really be considered grown up.

The thought of partying the nights away sounded exciting. But I also was savvy enough to know I’d pay for that as I sleep-walked, bleary-eyed around the office the following day.

Yeah, that sure would get old real fast.

As I sat there, considering the abrupt change in my life, a song on the radio intruded into my thoughts.

“Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city, linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty,” Petula Clark sang.

“Downtown, where all the lights are bright. Downtown, waiting for you tonight. Downtown, you’re gonna be all right now.”

I dismissed the nagging thought that I might be spending Christmas alone and began to sing along. Downtown was less than a mile from my apartment. Time to view the brightly decorated Christmas trees.  I cheered up as I began to weigh the endless possibilities and adventures that lay in wait.

Now, when I hear that tune, a wave of nostalgia floods over me. While it dredges up some sad times, it also reminds me that opportunity beckons. All I need to do is open the door, remember the wonder of discovering something new and embrace the change.

What song sparks a special time of year for you?

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

(Click the link below to hear Petula Clark’s “Downtown”)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZSklx9wKdY

The Gift of Time

By Judy Berman

During our visit with Dad in June, a tune kept running thru my head. I couldn’t quite make out the words or recall all the music.

Slowly, it came to me. The song was “The Windmills of Your Mind.” A phrase that stuck with me was: “Pictures hanging in the hallway and the fragment of this song, Half-remembered names and faces, but to whom do they belong?”

The song reminds me that time was slipping away. For several years, my husband and I have flown to Vegas to celebrate Father’s Day at Joe’s Crab Shack with my Dad (Joseph H. Fiet III) and my brother, Hank. Dad’s 91, and I’m not sure how many more Father’s Days we’ll have together. His health hasn’t been good. Dad’s been in and out of the hospital for several months.

But he looks forward to this outing.

Inside this laid-back restaurant, we bypass the T-shirts that state “Bite me” or look like leftovers from a Jerry Garcia paintball war and head to our table. We’re ready to dive into their shrimp. The wait-staff is rocking out to a tune that blares thru the speakers. Their dancing and singing is all part of the atmosphere.

Minutes later, our table is overflowing with popcorn shrimp, coconut shrimp, shrimp scampi and Louisiana-style bayou shrimp.

Conversation flows as smoothly as the drinks. Dad doesn’t finish his beer, but he obviously had a great time and so did we.

Shortly after we return to Florida, Dad has a minor stroke and goes back to the hospital.

Each time Hank calls, I hesitate before I answer. I suspect the news will not be good. Some days, it is. Others, not.

On July 6th, the news we’d been dreading finally comes. Hank was with Dad at the hospital shortly before Dad died. It seemed as if Dad rallied for our visit and, again, for Hank to be with him.

Dad’s gift to us: precious time. There is never enough time when it comes to those you want to be with. Still, I am grateful for what we were able to share.

I told my eldest daughter, Danielle, that, when Hank called, a repairman was in the garage working on our hot-water heater. She said the repairman probably wondered why I was crying.

“Yeah,” I joked, “I was really attached to our old water heater.”

Dad would have loved that.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Music link: “The Windmills of Your Mind,” from “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968):

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAGGTVft5Lk&feature=player_embedded

Photo caption: Dad (Joseph H. Fiet III), Hank, Judy and Dave during one of our annual visits at Joe’s Crab Shack in Las Vegas