Imagination Is Easy

By Nick Smerkanich
I watched Titanic for the first time in a long time the other night
It was the only thing on and I had time to kill, i.e. I had sleep to ignore
I’ll say this about James Cameron, love him or hate him he does make the modern day epic
I began to watch it and it felt as if an old friend just showed up in the room
Mind you, this old friend isn’t an old friend by virtue of being a really amazing individual
This is an old friend because this was the one that always showed up at your house uninvited and stayed two hours past it was time to go home, and ate all your freezie pops
This old friend
I was talking to my Dad about the film and he reminded me just how much I watched it when I was a kid
Now that’s true, I did
But I distinctly remember the two-cassette tape box edition we had
And I remember wearing down the second cassette because I would just watch the sinking
Fast-forward through that goddamn hand streaking down the misted window
And watch a systematic disaster
Though I knew a bunch of people my age went through a big Titanic fascination phase, I thought it was because of the movie
But kids and adults alike are still fascinated with this
I mean I even saw rumor of a complete replica ship that is to be built this decade and I got more excited for that than I have been for anything in a while
Back to the sinking
Disaster, I loved the fact that it started slow and crept up the ship until it was too late for anyone to escape cleanly
I loved the idea that this microcosm of a society, this own replica of society on the sea, could be swallowed by water, just like anything else
Of course, those are just words I used
I didn’t give a shit when I was little, the sinking was magical to me and that’s all I needed
So it was 2 am and I watched Titanic
Rather, half of it
But not the half I had expected
I watched until just after that hand streak down the steamy passion window, and my heart dropped
I literally couldn’t go on because how is it fair that such young love will be broken in such a way
Jack needed Rose just as much as Rose needed Jack
They completed one another
What would happen when they leave the ship in America
Would his roguish charm and easy smile be enough in the home of the brave
Would her upbringing eventually come back to haunt them and chase them as they try to recreate the passion they had in that red T-Model Ford
You cannot recreate passion when no disaster is coming
I knew it was going to sink and all my hopes and fears would drown
Then I laughed, what the hell am I doing
For Christ’s sake, I really really need to sleep more and not watch Starz movie channel at 2 am
But I never listen to myself
The next night, I watched the whole beginning again, because once a movie channel has hold of a film, it tries to make it into an old friend
The old friend that tosses a football to himself his front yard in hope of being asked to join the kids playing football across the street
I sucked up my romantic side and watched the whole thing
And I enjoyed it
I remember going to the OctoberFest, which was a carnival held in a field by my town’s park once a year
And the rides and booth’s were pretty legit
And I always had a thing for carnivals
Even in our school fairs in elementary school, I would show up when it first opened and spend the entire day there, probably 8 hours
Hell, my dad would give me ten bucks and sure, I felt like the king of the world
It’s amazing what a water balloon rubber band yoyo, a goldfish in a plastic baggie, and a sand art coke bottle will do for your self-esteem at age 10
But back to the OctoberFest
I remember it had an inflatable sinking Titanic where you would climb to the top and hold on for dear life a
And then when you realize all is lost
You forget Rose’s promise “I’ll never let go”
And you loosen your grip and let go and slide down to a piss and stale beer soaked carnie ground
I can’t help but think that that inflatable disaster was in poor taste
To make light of such a disaster
A tragedy that took the lives of 1514 real people
But what the hell, we only really care about the two passengers that aren’t actually real
Because their story is timeless (to some vomit inducing, to others heart wrenching), and it has been long enough that we feel comfortable letting ourselves off the hook of adhering to respect, tact, good taste, mourning, what have you
And just let our imaginations run rampant
Who would we be in the face of such a disaster, what is our role
It’s magic
It really is
I remember reenacting my own fall from the stern and in that moment of suspension, I really believed my imagination
Luckily my “death” ended with a ride on the gravitron, a turkey leg the size off my neck, and
My “grave” was the backseat of my dad’s Toyota Landcruiser
Imagination is easy when far removed from the tragedy
And that may not necessarily be a bad thing 

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