04 July 2007
8 TURN THE BOAT AROUND!
my family pretty much comes down to memories and mockery. those are what we do best. and in that vein, we've acquired these little tidbits along the way- pop culture soundbites (often highly obscure) that we've incorporated into our daily lives.
for instance, if you leave my parents' house at any time in which my father is within hearing distance of the door, there'll be a shout of "have fun storming the castle."
but then, that's not so obscure. how about this: compliment a woman with anything remotely close to the line "she's a lady" and you'll get the response, "she was a lady... she was a feminist... she was a... sporting group!"- an homage to an unfortunate day in the spring of 1994 when my mum taped the westminster dog show over the concluding seconds of a most beloved jackie documentary.
there are many, many other things like this. and among those things is "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!" ever since we saw titanic and the scene where kate throws leo off the rafty thing and blows the dead guy's whistle and the rescue dude hears her and screams "TUUUUUURN. THE. BOAT. AROOOOOOOUND!" ever since then, we have said "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!" it's become so ingrained in our minds that despite a moderately successful film career doing things other than turning boats around, Turn The Boat Around Guy has only ever been known to us as "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!"
my father and i have done this for years. for nearly a decade, we have said- in the same tone and with identical inflection- "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!" it has become one of our most successful bits- second only in familial popularity to my mum's herman act.
so it was on Sunday, during our 7 hours together after meggie's wedding, that we spent the one hour in which we were awake watching the tail end of titanic on TBS. we watched it solely to see "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!"
you can imagine our amazement when Turn The Boat Around Guy did not, in fact, say "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!" when he said- in an inflection entirely unlike the one we have used for the past decade and in a tone we had never heard before- "TURN A'BOW!" at the time, we found comfort in the belief that it must've been a case of freak network editing, but a monday morning consultation with the titanic dvd proved otherwise. Turn The Boat Around Guy does not say "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!"
it's difficult to express how fully this has shattered my family's belief system. there's been a flurry of emailed recriminations and heated discourses on who precisely is at fault for this decade-long misquote. i lay all blame with my father for being a perpetual misquoter. he, in turn, accuses my much-lauded discernment for failing to catch the error. my mum sides with him.
there is a palpable sense of shock and concern. a fear that if the three of us can create a shared memory around an entirely invented slice of film dialog that perhaps we've gotten everything wrong all along. suddenly, we are in a whole new world. a world where we're not quite sure if we can still "TURN THE BOAT AROUND!"