Terms of St. Elmo’s of Fire
Oh, the things that plague you when you’re a pastophile with a renowned steel-trap memory.
Any instance of forgetfulness. Just one itty-bitty insignificant nugget of nostalgia becomes lost in the recesses of my brain matter and I shrivel into Pixy Stix dust.
I lose sleep. I stop eating. I obsess. I curl into a ball and repeatedly smack my skull with a pet rock in hopes that it’ll restart the system.
Obviously I barely survived the years leading up to the invention of the internet. Back then, back before Google, I used to resort to calling up friends in hopes that they would remember and alleviate my pain.
I once sunk so low that I called up a man I despised, a loser-creepo-jerkface-ex-boyfriend of a good friend, because I was certain he’d know what TV show featured a helicopter with a painted mouth. I’m not proud of this.
It went something like, Riptide! That’s it! Now leave Julie the hell alone or I’ll slash your tires.
But usually it was more like, Kelley, I’m sorry to bother you. I know your parents hate it when I call during dinner, but please tell me what planet Alf was from.
The most recent incident occurred last month after I featured this 1988 video relic, The Art of Scarf Styling in a Dynomite! post.
Just a few notes into its opening song and I recognized something very familiar. It sounded like a bad remix, a tacky knock-off number. Oh, how lame! I can’t believe they ripped off that movie song! That one movie. You know, that one. Sure, that one. Oh, no! Sweet Baby Jesus, tell me what ’80s movie that song is from!
The problem was I couldn’t google it. Not a single line of lyrics to google because the song is instrumental.
So for several weeks I hummed it out loud. To my husband. To my neighbor. To a person in line in front of me at the theater. Again and again. And I included wild gestures to accompany the scales. Like a crazy person, like a homicidal maniac — except not so murdery.
Then I googled the hell out of everything I could think of.
Sentimental movie song with no words from the 80s.
Then I youtubed every ’80s movie I could think of that features a musical montage or dramatic scene where an instrumental song plays.
Oh, yeah that was easy — because musical montages never occurred in ’80s movies. Nope, never. Especially not when the movie characters were working on a Big Project — like refurbishing a boat, or a car, or cleaning up an old house. Especially not when the movie characters were spending time apart, reflecting on the person they love, or just on the verge of a major epiphany.
Terms of Endearment? No, not that one. Kramer vs. Kramer? Where is that scene where there’s that one song? No, not that scene. Chariots of Fire? Hell no. Come on, dumbass! Any everyday schmuck would know it’s not the Chariots of Fire theme song. Man, you are so stupid! So stupid! Where is my pet rock?
Out-of-focus movie stills swirled around me as I played the song over and over in my mind.
Did it show a park while the song was playing? No. There were people cleaning something! No. Hugging? Was it a group hug? No. Wasn’t there a person running on the beach? Chariots of Fire? No, damnit, no, no!
Naturally for a few days I lost the song entirely after it was swallowed up by the Chariots of Fire soundtrack. Damn you, Chariots of Fire! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!
Then I tried to recreate whatever it was I was supposed to feel when I heard the song in hopes that it would jog some memory about the movie. Was I sad when I heard it? No. Sad is too strong of a word — more like melancholy. Yes! But maybe with a touch of optimism? Maybe melancholy because people are saying goodbye but they’re still optimistic about the future? Yes! But that could be anything. Was there a refurbished sailboat involved? No, no, no, you idiot, no!
And then, just last week — Divine Intervention!
My husband and I were sifting through our streaming selection on Netflix when we stumbled upon St. Elmo’s Fire.
Something pulled me toward it. Something said, Let’s watch it. Something said, Here you will find a “refurbishing-a-sailboat” type of montage but without a refurbished sailboat involved. Although, I’m of course always up for watching movies with a “refurbishing-a-sailboat” type of montage, but preferably with a refurbished sailboat involved.
And within five seconds into St. Elmo’s Fire, I knew.
I knew like I knew when I first met my husband.
This is It. This is The One.
My life was finally complete.
I could rest at last. I could breathe again. No, I’ll take it even further — I could live again!
Because then I had to figure out whether Mare Winningham was the actress from Turner & Hooch.