So today my son begged me to see Rampage, the new movie starring The Rock and an extremely oversized, pissed off gorilla. I wasn’t really in a King Kongy kind of place but my ‘3 days from being 11 year old’ has a way with me. And so does The Rock, so win win.
Movie starts, I see The Rock, I’m happy. He plays a zoologist whose background consists of being a loner, hunting poachers in Africa and saving George, an orphaned baby gorilla. Swoon. I’m in.
I dig deep into the popcorn and try to remember my last decent date.
“I’d love to find a guy whose heart is so big he teaches sign language to orphaned primates. Where’s the nearest zoo?” I wonder.
The nearest zoo is in my head, monkeys swinging from one thought to the next. Men. Dating. I’m scarred. Dave, 2001, calls me at 3am, he’s afraid the Taliban is outside of his apartment. Brian, 2013, upon coming to my house tells me my garage is too small for his truck but it could work; is he moving in? Matt, 2014, tells me he can feel the chemistry and he was going to change my life, I had yet to sit on my bar stool.
Ok. George. Let’s get back to the gorilla. At this point, he’s overgrown and angry, infected with some kind of gene mutation. He’s not having it, any of it. He’s screaming, pounding his chest and protesting any kind of containment.
I’m envious of George. Not of the mutation, of his ability to say, “I’m out.”
And then it occurred to me. I’ve stayed too long. It has taken too much for me to rage like George, find my voice and say, this isn’t working, thank you, “I’m out.”
Back to the movie. The Rock has someone in a headlock, but somehow he makes it funny.
And I remember. The date that gave me back my voice, Paul, 2015.
After enduring hours of scripted chatter, jokes, stories and a full 3 course meal, he suggests walking me to my car. I hesitate because I parked really far away and it’s now dark. He begins his final joke of the evening.
If you’ve never heard of the “Father Nelson” joke, I dare you to google it and imagine it being told to you in a dark parking lot. Paul 2015 attempted the joke, which I had heard many times (growing up Catholic) and knew it involved putting the listener into a Full Nelson. Yes, a FULL FUCKING NELSON, in a dark parking lot.
I threw my arms up, elbows pointed and screamed, “I’m out.” I got into my car and drove off realizing I could have saved myself two hours prior if I had spoken up. Like George, scaling a skyscraper, smashing windows, I too was wondering how I got to this point.
Thank you George. Thank you Paul 2015 and finally, thanks to The Rock. I know you tough sensitive guys are out there, maybe you’re not adopting gorillas, maybe you too are silently sitting across from your “Paul 2015”, waiting to find your voice.