Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Graduate

By Paul Dugan, Groovy Reflections Team Member

During, my senior year of high school, Dustin Hoffman was starring in his first movie.

I spent most of my free time engaged in my favorite sport, hanging out at the mall and checking out all the girls, who were busy making sure they were being checked out. It's not a complicated sport but it does have rules, however, that's for another story.

One evening, while perched on “our” bench, two of my friends mentioned they had seen the new movie The Graduate at the cinema across the parking lot and how great it was and they wanted to go see it again. Knowing full well if we left, we'd never get this prime seat back, so I was reluctant plus the movie didn't sound all that great. From what I could tell, no cities were destroyed; there was apparently no blood, I mean, what was all the hoopla?

My friends were not to be denied they begged, they pleaded, but I was firm I did not want to go, they said “we'll pay”. So, I went!

Needless to say I loved it; the best movie I'd ever seen. In fact, I was telling another friend the very same thing the next day. He said it sounded great and let's go see it. I told him I just saw it and really didn't want to go see it again. He begged, he pleaded, and he offered to pay. Again, I went, and it was just as good as the first time.

You'd think I'd learn my lesson but I never claimed to be the brightest bulb on the tree. A couple days later when I picked my steady girl up, I told her about it, you guessed it, she wanted to go. I was pretty sure she wasn't paying for this one.  While I still enjoyed the movie, it probably was more the company than the movie, I mean, three times in one week.

As happens in life our romance was not destined to be and we broke up a couple of weeks later. After allowing the heartbreak to heal an appropriate amount of time; I'm sure it was at least ten days, I asked another girl that I'd met at work out, and she accepted. When I picked her up and asked where she'd like to go......you could see this coming from a quarter mile away couldn't you? So off I went for the FOURTH time in less than a month. I'm pretty sure Dustin Hoffman owes me big time for his career.
Well, that relationship didn't last either and off I went to college. About a year later I'd come home for a weekend and the folks had installed one of those redwood, above ground pools, that were all the rage back then. I was doing my best Dustin Hoffman imitation, on a float in the pool with my cool shades on, when a shadow passed over me. It was Mom. She said “I want you to meet my new friend; this is Mrs. Robinson.”

I'm pretty sure I set a new speed record getting out of that pool and high tailing it back to college!  Mom was pretty upset with me for embarrassing her and to this day I couldn't tell what her friend even looked like; all I knew was, I was taking no chances.

Flash forward, 2010. I have a copy of that movie on DVD and still watch it now and then. It’s funny the different perspective I have now. When I see it, I realize that was me, I just didn't know it then. Oh, I don't mean the whole older woman thing, but the going thru the motions, not having any idea of what you were doing or where you were going in life, like you were just being pushed along by a current too strong to resist.

And my dating life? Well, eventually, I finally did have a relationship that lasted. We raised a family and have been blessed with grandchildren. I still feel the current but I aged enough to know I can move out of the middle of the stream where it's not so fast and enjoy life on the river. I'd kind of like to think maybe Benjamin finally found his way out of the middle of the river too.

By Paul Dugan, guest Groovy Reflections blogger


Rebecca said...

Fantastic story. I appreciate that we don't always get the deeper meaning that an artist or director is trying to share at a certain age or a certain point and you are right - we were all a little bit Dustin Hoffman's character at some point and hopefully we all learn that we, too, can move to the side of the river if we need to.
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great story Paul! I saw it only once at a theater ! My friend down the street is a real Mrs. Robinson and we joke that her son's college-age friends better not ever see the movie and get any ideas!

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this blog. You have a way about your writing that is light and funny, but still allowed me to actually see the panic on your face in the pool LOL! I hope you write another soon!

Mary in Alabama

PaulD said...

Thanks all and thanks Mary, there's a couple more "in the pipeline". It's nice to know they are appreciated

Anonymous said...

I was 9 when the movie came out. I don't remember when I first saw it, but the movie (and the music) captivates. I also own it on DVD and watch every 3-4 mos or so.