Danny DeVito Lied

This week you get a story. And — being me — you also get the backstory for the story. Sorry.

In recent history, there have been three — no, four (research always reveals something new to me) — Jumanji movies. The first is titled simply Jumanji, released in 1995, and stared Robin Williams. The second released in 2005 and is titled Zathura: A Space Adventure. I hadn’t heard of it before today.

More recently are Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle in 2017 and Jumanji: The Next Level in 2019. These two movies are a pair, and feature Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, and Kevin Hart, among others. They’re popcorn flicks: lightweight fun, but nothing that will change the world.

That said, I’ve had a crush on Karen Gillan ever since she showed up in Dr Who, and Jack Black playing a self centred high school girl is worth many times the price of admission. So what’s not to like? (Well, unless you’re my mom for whom movies need to be in black & white, have dialogue in a language she doesn’t speak, and subtitles. Our views on what makes a film good … differ. Hi mom!)

I’d include photos, but I’m guessing everything I see on the net is copyrighted. I’ll avoid the issues. You can google images of Danny or Karen in Jumanji if you want.

Anyway, moving on.

The central premise of these films is that there is a game into which players from the real world are taken. They must win the game — from inside the game’s world — to get back. And of course the game could kill the players, preventing their return entirely. Don’t worry, I will not spoil the movies for those who haven’t seen them.

The most recent instalment — The Next Level — adds a few new characters including one played by Danny DeVito. He’s a grandfather recovering from hip replacement surgery and other significant events in his life. In this role he makes two obviously contradictory statements to his grandson:

Getting old sucks. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

and

Getting old is a gift. I forget that sometimes.

Perhaps the title of this post makes sense now? One of those lines is a lie.

To be fair, DeVito is an actor. From a particular vantage point, everything he does while on screen is a lie. He’s paid to lie. So perhaps it’s not really lying and instead is something more like “truth for the character.” I suppose you could make that argument, but in that case I will claim the screenwriter lied. Those two statements are at odds in the real world.

Why am I carrying on about this?

Because the last week made it perfectly obvious to me which of those statements is a lie.

Imagine you are going about your life, minding your own business. Everything is fine until you climb out of bed one morning and discover that your hip is sore.

“That’s odd,” you think. “I don’t remember doing anything that would hurt my hip.”

You literally have no memory of injuring anything. Nothing at all. Perhaps you hurt your hip and didn’t notice it at the time? Or maybe you injured it while you were sleeping? No way to know. Regardless, it is not happy now, and it is letting you know things are not right.

You hobble around for a few days. Sleeping is difficult, as there is no comfortable position to be found. Ice doesn’t help. In fact nothing seems to help but time.

Eventually it starts to improve. As the pain recedes you discover the hip joint feels tighter than it did before, and tighter than the uninjured hip. Movement is restricted by whatever happened to the tendons or muscles, even if it doesn’t hurt that much anymore. Stretching will be needed to work this out, but care will be required to avoid injuring it again.

Nearly a week after the initial discovery, you’re once again trying to sleep and can’t. It doesn’t really hurt, but there’s an odd pressure in the hip joint that makes no sense. An hour in a chair instead of the bed helps a bit, though, and you head back to bed thinking sleep might still be possible.

Then your giant dog (oddly named Tinkerbelle) decides that she has to go out and admire the view at 2 am. She doesn’t actually do anything while out, but she won’t come in for over 15 minutes. Eventually you coerce her back inside without waking the neighbours (you hope) and go back to bed.

No, I will not go to sleep! I have important dog things to do out there!

But sleep doesn’t come, and at 4 am the dog has to go out again. Another 15 minutes spent out in the cold with a dog doing nothing useful. Perhaps she is constipated?

Then at 6:45 am it happens again. The dog is clearly not having a good night either, but this is ridiculous.

At 7 am the alarm goes off because someone in the house still has a paying job and needs to be online to talk to people on the east coast before they go to lunch. The process of her getting up, getting dressed, and dragging the dogs downstairs for their breakfast is noisy enough to keep you awake even longer. (Of course, dropping a pin can wake me. Your reaction in this situation might differ from my own.)

For the record, that was Wednesday night. I was a zombie on Thursday, unable to accomplish anything. In the middle of the afternoon, for unknown reasons, I was reminded of Danny DeVito’s lines. It became perfectly clear that getting old really does suck.

Thankfully, I am still on the mend. Tinkerbelle did need out twice on Thursday night, but the second was purposeful and quick, so her situation seems to be improving as well. (Maybe if she stopped eating dirt, but try explaining that to a canine.) In any case I actually got some sleep despite the dog, and I am better off as a result.

Is there a moral to this story? I wish I knew. Don’t get old seems an obvious possibility, but what is the alternative? I have yet to find one, but I’ll keep looking.

In the meantime, take care and keep safe!

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Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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Jeff Powell

Jeff Powell

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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