I respond to a lot of ridiculous levels of shame. I feel bad when I think about that telemarketer sitting in a cubicle, hoping that just one person will pick up the phone when they see that number on caller ID that doesn't look familiar. I answer some of those calls because I don't want the poor stiff at the other end of the line to feel as though their efforts were a complete waste of time and energy. That's how they're putting frozen pizza on the table, after all. I am also completely susceptible to dental guilt. When I hear the hygienist tsking behind her plastic face shield as she scrapes and probes, stopping every so often to make a note, I sink a little deeper in my seat. I know that I brush and floss twice a day, and that I have become ever more conscious of those between-meal snacks, but it can't protect me from the heightened expectations of that prone position, hoisted on my own tartar.
There is another wave of disgrace comes pounding through this time of year when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announce their annual list of movies that everyone should have seen by now. It used to be easier when there were only five. As an avid moviegoer, I could usually count on having at least three in the bag before the nominations were announced, and the month before the actual ceremony could be used to fill in the one or two prestige films that had somehow escaped my net. This year there are eight. I can console myself a little with the fact that the rules allow there to be ten movies in the running. Maybe one of those that missed the cut could have been Star Wars. And the latest James Bond. Or the most recent Fast and Furious installment. Then I would be sitting pretty.
Instead, I'm sitting squarely on my three, wishing that all that Rocky love could have splashed off Sylvester Stallone and onto the movie he was in. Or that the Pixar folks could have managed a deserved move from the animated film slums to the penthouse located at the end of the show. Which elicits a sub-group of the grief I give myself. I used to see all those animated films. I don't have a ten year old at home anymore. I don't drag myself out to see the best in anime or animation that wasn't created just over the hill in Emeryville. Shame, shame, shame.
I've got a month and a half to try and bag those five movies that have so far eluded my grasp. For my own humility, I will refrain to name them here, but I intend to study up and at least watch the trailers for the ones I can't track down at the local superfaplex. I don't know if faking it will eventually bring me greater shame, but then I can focus on the guilt I will feel for pretending to know what I'm talking about, which is a nearly constant condition for me. Or maybe I can simply console myself with the knowledge that I conscientiously avoided all five Razzie nominated worst pictures of the year. Sweet relief.