Friday, August 7, 2009

On John Hughes

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2009 at 1:03 PM

I didn't get along with my dad too well when I was a teenager. I was actually a bright kid, who would share a lot of insights with my dad when I was 9 years old. I used to have great discussions with my pops, ones where he would be convinced I was to become some sort of social worker when I grew up.

Don't laugh. I really was a sweet guy before puberty reared its ugly head.

When I hit my teen years, I guess I went from being a bright kid to a "wiseguy," and my relationship with dad suffered. Verbal confrontations and pushing matches would wind up with me on the street heading to a friend's house with my clothes in a Hefty bag. It really sucked.

But, in the middle of all the mayhem, my dad and I would still catch a movie when the fighting paused. I remember one night when we caught The Breakfast Club at a discount theater in the middle of a rainstorm (I stepped in a near waist deep puddle while leaving the theater, which Dad found very amusing). My Dad was a high school teacher, and I remember us bonding on the drive back home after the movie. He marveled at how this John Hughes guy managed to perfectly capture the different kinds of kids he dealt with on a daily basis. He also asked me if I thought he was as pigheaded as the teacher who threatened to beat up Judd Nelson in the movie. I politely told him no, but thought otherwise.

I guess my point is that John Hughes gave me a brief calm in the storm that was my teen years with his little movie. My dad and I didn't hate each other for something like a week, but we went back to war soon after. Perhaps we should've gone to see Ferris.

This is written as if my Dad is no longer around, but he is. After suffering multiple heart attacks and soldiering through, he's in Phoenix playing with his nephew and going to Diamondbacks games. Twenty years later, I have a decent relationship with him. He probably still thinks I'm a wiseguy, but that's OK ... I got better at dealing with that sort of thing.

Shockingly, John Hughes is dead. I'd like to thank him for speaking the language of us teenaged wiseguys in the '80s. I'd like to thank him for Steve Martin's F-word laden rent-a-car rant in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which even made my diehard Christian mother crack up. And I'd like to thank him for getting Dad off my back for at least seven days. I think I scored a little higher on my SATs because of that.

Bye, Mr. Hughes ... you ruled.