One of the fun parts about having a middle school student under our roof (and some would argue that there aren't a heck of a lot of fun parts) is that all of a sudden, I can share some of the more mature aspects of adult culture and entertainment with my son. We listen to NPR in the car, and he actually requests certain programs. We watch The Daily Show together over pancakes, and he laughs out loud. I get to pimp him out to the New York Times, and he plays along. He helps me with my Algebra homework.
All those times I turned to Tim and said, "You know, when Ben gets older, he'd love this..." Well, he's older, and it's time.
Ben has always loved reading, so we fell all over ourselves to fill Ben's bookshelves with all of our favorites. A Prayer for Owen Meany? Loved it. Catch-22? Ditto. A Walk in the Woods? Yep. We love to talk about them all over dinner. And now that his tastebuds have matured, that dinner table is laden as often as possible with magical adult fare such as the hot-cooling juju of Szechuan Gourmet (on 21 W 39th St, between 5th and 6th, you must try the dumplings in sweet chili soy, dan dan noodles, braised whole bass in chili soy, and spicy cucumber salad...but I digress).
Recently, his interests turned to film, and we were intrigued.
But whose list to check off? AFI? Rotten Tomatoes? Oscars? In the end, we've compiled our own, and it's been a blast. We started with Godfather I (two enthusiastic thumbs up) and off we went.
Tonight, however, our entertainment loves have collided in a way I would have never predicted. Ben loves a good twist ending, so I queued up The Sixth Sense for tonight as Tim is away at a conference. I put Finnegan to bed, so it was just the two of us (and the snoring dog) for movie night. I pulled the Netflix envelope out with a flourish and a "Ta-DAH!" and...nothing. Blank stare.
"But I know how that ends, remember? They gave away the ending on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me."
No...they'd wouldn't. My close personal friend Peter Sagal would never...okay, fine. I've never met the man, but I read his columns in Runner's World, I adored The Book of Vice, I listen to Wait, Wait podcast faithfully every week while I weed the garden or stack wood, and when we drive anywhere, the last thing Ben asks as we leave the house is, "Do we have all the new Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me on the iPod?"
So I defended. I went to bat. My running and radio friend Peter Sagal? He'd never.
"No, Ben, they'd never do that. I mean, I remember when the film came out, everyone kept the secret. Really? No, they wouldn't have."
"No, they did. Remember? They were talking about how badly NBC messed up during the Olympics and gave away all the spoilers about who won the events, and they said it was like at the end of the movie Sixth Sense, when...[...]"
Nope. I can't do it. I won't quote it here, I won't even link to the podcast's URL, and if you have been reading me for any time at all, you know I love a good hyperlink. Sorry. It's just that sort of negligence that ruined movie night with my son. Heck, I spent an entire afternoon gluing together two specific pages of my student's copies of Great Expectations when I realized that the introduction's list of characters gives away important plot points. Don't mess with me when it comes to spoilers.
So here we are. I loved you once, Peter Sagal and the crew of Wait Wait, but boo. Booo to you and your spoilers. A new generation is listening, and take my word for it: The adolescents, they will rise up and punish you.
I'm a middle school teacher. I know.