Thursday, January 31, 2019

Lost Weekend

Remember the way you’d roll the images back on a 16mm celluloid projector. It was the perfect metaphor for the feeling you have when you do something which you can’t reverse. Say you’ve had a little fender bender, you’d like to relive the day and not end up in the parking lot outside the Walmarts where the accident occurred. Or you wish that in a moment of annoyance you hadn’t assassinated your friend’s character in a way that apologies won’t erase or that you didn’t slip and fall in the shower and begin a chain of injuries to your shoulder that has resulted in a string of operations that would otherwise have been totally unnecessary. There are people who believe that there's a plan to the universe and that wherever you are is where you’re meant to be—a soothing notion since it obviates the need to consider what you would have or could have done, if you believe in the concept of free will. Still there are all these invisible lines. Addicts who are in recovery know all about this since they're filled with urges to satisfy their addictions and slip into old behaviors. In Billy Wilder's Lost Weekend (1948), Ray Milland is tormented by his desires and then finally caves into them and the movie brilliantly charts the topography of the character, a writer’s temptation-filled landscape. If you've ever been trying to avoid sweets, or porn, or any of the stimulations, that aren’t necessarily bad or good, but which may have consequences for someone who can’t stop, then you know how taunting and haunting certain lures can be. For instance the buttery smell of a freshly baked croissant or scone is going to be a difficult thing for someone who has a problem with carbs. You may be addicted to a certain person who isn’t good for you and throw caution to the wind, saying to yourself that you deserve some pleasure amidst all the pain of your otherwise barren and lonely existence. You get the moment of pleasure, but then have to live with the results which can mean doing the same thing over and over again and in some cases enduring the kind of abusive behavior that you'd promised yourself you'd relinquished forever.

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