One of the things I’m most looking forward to is sharing all of the cool stuff I loved from my childhood with Annie. I fantasize about a magical day in 2018 or so when I make a giant bowl of space popcorn and sit her down for her first viewing of “Back To The Future.” Marty and Doc will, of course, hold her enraptured the entire 116 minutes, and afterward she will throw her arms around me.
“Thank you sooooo much for exposing me to this timeless classic,” she will say with tears in her eyes. “You have enriched my life, you most incredible dad in the world, you!”
It is gonna be the best, I tell you. Except, of course, if it isn’t. What if – gasp – she doesn’t cherish it (or “Thriller” or “Choose Your Own Adventure” books) as much as I do?
I have reason to be worried. I remember one less than magical day toward the end of the Reagan administration when my Dad made me watch one his favorite films, “Shane,” a Western first released in 1953. I gave this classic my undivided attention for all of five minutes, then brought out the claws.
“The acting in this stinks! It’s so old-timey!”
“Well, the acting may be a little different than you’re used to, but –
“You hear the sound effect when that guy got shot? It was so fake!”
“Come on, Mike. Give it some time –
“Some time to what? Suck more?”
I am sorry to report that my Dad ended up watching the rest of his beloved “Shane” all by himself as I had long since retired to my room to play “Mike Tyson’s Punchout” on my Nintendo.
So, while I obviously have huge amounts of karmic retribution headed my way, I still hope Annie likes “Back To The Future.” Today I asked Heather if she thought Annie would like it, and she said, “What’s not to like?” I was happy with this answer until she added:
“Of course for Annie 1985 will be as much the past as 1955, so the whole going into the past bit won’t be as powerful. And you can’t show her Part II because almost NONE of the ‘future’ stuff came true. Oh, and the Eighties clothes? The clothes will be a problem.”
Sigh. I hadn’t thought about that stuff. Just as my Dad probably hadn’t thought about the dated sound effects and how much they would matter to me. The thing is, despite all of that, I still really want her to like it. Am I setting myself up for heartbreak? Or is there some way to help a kid appreciate something great even if it isn’t the latest and greatest?