I'd like everyone to come in a little bit closer today. Gather, gather. Sit up front. We're all a happy family. For we all have one common thread.
And that thread is: all of us--you, me, that guy over there--were emotionally scarred by the both terrifying and terrific epic film, the 1984 classic, Follow That Bird.
There were three things that made this movie terrifying:
1. My friend and confidant, Big Bird, is on the run. By himself. With no parents to lead him, and Stranger Danger at every corner.
Big Bird is supposed to only be 6 years old, by the by. What if that was me?? What if I had to start a life with a new family and they were terrible so I had to run away all by myself! It happened to Big Bird, it could happen to ME!
2. When Big Bird is blue.
Big Bird. My friend. My confidant. He is in a cage, and he is SO SAD, that he has TURNED A DIFFERENT COLOR. I didn't even know that was possible, but if Sesame Street says it is, THEN IT IS.
3. Do I have to say it? DO I EVEN HAVE TO SAY IT.
Miss.....Finch. If a scarier Muppet exists in the world, I have yet to see it.
Nope. Not as scary.
Not even close.
Close, but not them either.
AHHHHHHHHH! RUN AWAY!!!!!!
Miss Finch was perhaps the first villain I ever encountered in my young life. And I have been scarred to my soul. First, she rips Big Bird (friend, confidant) out of the warm embraces of Maria and Luis, then she plunks him down among a horrible, vapid family, and then when he tries to escape, she and her dark, soul-sucking eyelids chase him across the country! It's not enough that he is a child on the run, but he must be a HUNTED child on the run.
And I know I'm not the only one who has felt this way. Anyone young enough to have encountered this movie as a small child was petrified of this woman.
There are two things that are great about this movie, however. Scratch that, three things. The first is Canadian actor Dave Thomas. The second is the music. Specifically "Easy Goin'", the feel-good song of the bird, the children, and their farm.
Question: Did you and Laura figure out the harmony to that song and teach it to your friends so you could belt it out while walking through the nighttime streets of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois?
Answer: DID. WE. EVER.
Question: ...Wait, why were you singing this song in college?
Answer: Because I bought the movie for Laura's 22nd birthday, and (the third and final thing that is great about this movie) we made up a drinking game to coincide with it while we watched.
Question: Oh PLEASE tell me you still have the rules.
Question: You got distracted looking at the drinking game rules for Cash Cab online, didn't you?
Answer: Hmm? Huh? What? Oh, right! Follow That Bird drinking game. YES! Of course I have the rules. They are simple, and they are awesome. Here we go:
1. Drink every time they say "bird."
2. Everyone pick an extraneous and beloved Sesame Street character to follow throughout the movie, such as Grover or Cookie Monster. Whenever that Muppet is in a scene, you drink.
We may have had other rules, such as "drink every time you are so scared of Miss Finch that you can neither look away nor blink," but for the life of me, I can't recall any other rules being necessary.
So yes, perhaps I have been able to overcome such fears as becoming separated from my family and being forced to walk home. Now I can focus on the important things, like togetherness of friends and drinking alcohol while watching beloved childhood movies. I'd like to think I've become a real grownup.
On a separate note, does anyone want to create a Mary Poppins drinking game with me?