From time to time I like to use this forum to tell inspirational stories. Tales of perseverance and courage, people overcoming insurmountable odds to achieve success in this cold hard world despite their cruel burdens. Today I will be telling my story. I share this with you in the hopes that others who share a similar affliction will take solace and even find the strength to go on as I have. If I can help even one person then my suffering will have been worth it.
This is very hard so I hope you’ll allow me a stumble or two. I’ve never actually admitted this in public. Deep breath. Okay. Here I go.
I can’t see 3-D.
It doesn’t work on me. Jesus, it’s terrifying seeing that in print. My astigmatisms combined with my far sightedness and depth perception issues prevent me from experiencing the full three-dimensional effect.
I was first stricken with this insidious misfortune as a child. Imagine, a mere lad, way too young to have developed coping mechanisms. Blissful and without a care in the world, I skipped into my local theater (Grauman’s Chinese), donned these nifty disposable anaglyph glasses and prepared to have the shit scared out of me by HOUSE OF WAX. But alas, my horror was not at the lifelike images popping off the screen, it was that images were so blurry I couldn’t distinguish Vincent Price from Phyllis Kirk.
Maybe it was that movie. Or those glasses. I rushed to my other local theater (The Hollywood Egyptian) and saw IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE. Sorry. For me IT STAYED ON THE SCREEN. And the same problem persisted. Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl seemed to be the same person.
I gave it one last chance. INFERNO starring Rhonda Fleming. Oh please let those breasts hit me in the eye! But no. Other than looking really cool in those glasses, I was incapable of processing 3-D.
All the great movies that followed and I couldn’t see any of them. CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON, GOG, PARDON MY BACKFIRE, THE MAD MAGICIAN, ROBOT MONSTERS, and the scariest of them all – KISS ME KATE.
I felt alone. Isolated. And yes, let’s just say it – unloved. I tried to train myself. I’d wear those 3-D glasses everywhere. But the only thing that came alive was Picasso paintings. I eventually had to reconcile that I was never going to be like the other kids.
Fortunately, the fad faded. Save for some Deborah Walley vehicle that no one saw (if she’s not playing Gidget, what’s the point?) I managed to make it through the 60s relatively unscathed. In college when everyone was dropping acid and taking LSD I just put on my 3-D glasses and saw the same hallucinations.
And I was dating a girl with both eyes on the same side of her nose and I didn’t know it. She was very nice and otherwise I might not have asked her out.
My terror was rekindled in the 80s when strolling through Disneyland I happened upon CAPTAIN EO, the Michael Jackson movie. Yes, it was in 3-D but this was Disney. If anyone could perfect the process it was Walt. And yet, the illusion still eluded me. (Today you need to wear 3-D glasses to see Jacko in three-dimension even if you’re in the same room as him.)
I was heartened in the 90s when I was able to enjoy a film on an IMAX screen. That effect where the screen appears larger seemed to work on me.
But enough 3-D movies would come out to remind me that I was different and put me in my place.
I’ll admit it. I thought about chucking it all. Maybe drop out of society, sublet the Unibomber’s shed, sell Comcast cable in the wilderness.
But then I said, no! If some people with afflictions can look at life with rose colored glasses I can look at it with half rose and half blue.
And even though BOLT is now out in 3-D and I can’t see it, instead of feeling sorry for myself I say, “What’s the point of making a cartoon look real anyway?’ And Thursday night when selected theaters broadcast the Chargers-Raiders NFL game in experimental 3-D and I won’t be there, I won’t question the existence of God, I’ll just say, “Anyone who pays money to see that dog of a match up has a bigger problem than me!”
Suddenly I feel empowered. Relieved. Headache free. And now I’m going to the obscure video store. And I’m getting all the movies I missed-- . CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON, GOG, PARDON MY BACKFIRE, THE MAD MAGICIAN, ROBOT MONSTERS, IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE. And even a few I was afraid to see like HAWAIIAN NIGHTS with Mamie Van Doren and Pinky Lee, and THE ADVENTURES OF SHARKBOY AND LAVAGIRL. And if I have to watch ‘em with one eye, fuck it!