Lessons Learned From Movies

Just like most families, my family has a long list of Christmas traditions that are fulfilled on very specific days in very specific ways. I suppose this is what makes them traditions.

Movie watching is a major tradition. There are dozens of movies that are holiday “musts” in my house, none more so than “A Christmas Story”. I was very young when I first saw this movie.
Now, I don’t know if it’s the way it perfectly reflects my perception of my own younger life or if it’s the way it continues to embody my feelings surrounding Christmas each year, but that movie continues to have a profound effect upon me, and no other part more than the “flagpole” scene. Ralphie, our protagonist, is witness to a dare that drives another little boy to press his tongue to a frozen flagpole. The school bell rings shortly after and the little boy is left alone, and stuck to the pole until the fire department shows up to rescue him.
It doesn’t matter how stupid you think that is, the fact of the matter is that to a boy of 8 the concept is absolutely fascinating. When I saw it I was 8…and I was fascinated.
I took this newfound information, not knowing if it were true or only another fictional part of a fictional story, and decided to try it out for myself. We didn’t have a flagpole, but we did have a metal swing set behind our house.
I braced myself for the possibilities but was pushed forward by curiosity, and it wasn’t until it was too late that the expression regarding the curious cat made so much more sense to me. I was both astonished and horrified as the results were precisely as the movie had warned me they would be. In a moment of panic and fearing I might be there all night, I threw my head back and away from the pull only to be more horrified at the new sensation on the end of my tongue.
Now every time I watch that movie and it comes to that part I involuntarily clinch my jaw and rub my tongue along the inside of my teeth, and think about all the other kids in the world who have tested what they saw during a family Christmas tradition.

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