Gah. Back in 1996, I was the morning anchor at my high school's TV studio. (Just like Degrassi. It all comes back to that.) I know there's a tape somewhere of me reading the morning announcements, wearing my best science fair blazer, informing the student body that today the cafeteria would be serving hamburgers with a fixin's bar, tator tots and a "choice of milk." Wetzel would always make fun of me for the tag line THAT I WAS TOLD TO SAY BY THE TEACHER; IT WASN'T UP TO ME! STORMIN' DORMAN WASN'T KIDDING AROUND as I passed off my turn to the co-anchor: "Now back to Jody with more school news!"
I'm having total WHHS (cringe) flashbacks today, because I have a featured interview on today's webcast for work. If you skip past the Toyota commercial, the report of a triple/murder suicide, a fatal fire that killed an elderly shut-in, the weather forecast, a promo for an appliance store and a plug for the local hospital, you get to a four-minute interview with me. (There is no mention of a fixin's bar.) They take turns interviewing photographers and reporters about stories we work on, to give an "inside look" about that thing you sort of read about before skipping to the comics and and using the paper to line the bottom of your parakeet cage.
Yesterday I heard an episode of NPR's This American Life about home movies and the things they unintentionally reveal. I'm so impressed that the people they interview for the show can watch and describe their home movies without debilitating embarrassment. Today I find myself thinking about the cabinet full of video tapes in my parents' house. I know what's in there, and I wonder if there wouldn't be any value in converting them to DVDs and making short, quick packages, just a few minutes of the highlights, set to music, just for my family.
But I'm scared to look.
I know there's footage of me, Amanda, and the Plotners playing with baby rabbits after my First Communion. Brad and Greg are walking, even running. I know that we had chicken pox the week before. I'm scared to look.
When I was 11, I remember someone videotaping our aged, failing Golden retriever Canis enjoying a giant pack of beef jerky, his favorite thing, right before we took him to the vet to put him down.. which... WHAT? Why did we do that? I mean, I know why. But we've never watched it. Now? I'm scared to look.
I know that we recorded Amanda's Law School graduation, but I've never seen the tape. I know my dad recorded my thesis defense in 2001, when I was assigned to go first and my mouth got so dry that my lips stuck together and I had to painfully, stickily and repeatedly lick my dry teeth until I actually leaned down to ask the professor sitting closest to me for a swig of her coffee MY GOD I CAN'T FATHOM WATCHING THAT TAPE. The moderator remembered to place a pitcher of water and cups on the podium for every thesis candidate after me. Awesome. I know my mom videotaped a visit to me in Florida when Fred was just a kitten, but we never played it back.
I know there's a tape Kelly, Gwen, and I made the night before Gwen left for Wesleyan wherein I accidentally flash the camera. I know there are six or seven "fashion shows" starring me and Wendy, my best friend from kindergarten until seventh grade. I know there's footage of my high school friends playing with baby ducks in my parents' backyard. There's footage of Kelly and I talking about peanut butter and jelly with clothespins on our noses, a reference to something we once found hilarious and would now be mortifying. I'm scared to look.
Why, I wonder, do we have the desire to record, to capture these moments, and then we almost never play them back? Or do we? I know Anne and Lauren get together to watch "The Pirates of Penzance," the musical from our senior year, once a year, right? And Cindy's already made two movies of Baby Cate. I've watched them both. Is it changing in this age of YouTube?
Do you have home movies? Do you watch them?