Last night, I lay cuddled in bed in the late stages of an eggnog buzz, idly flipping through the channels waiting for something, anything, to take me away from the plethora of fame-whore reality show contestants and nauseating variants of decoding- the-Bible "documentaries". Suddenly, my glassy eyes locked on a vision of perfection, a scene which transported me back to the halcyon days of a young Montebellucci. It was the church scene of Home Alone in which Old Man Marley, a misunderstood neigbourhood codger discusses the intricacies of love, family, sin and redemption with young Kevin McCallister.
One thing that you must know about myself (and any Anglo, really) is that we cannot emote, yet are deeply sensitive. I'm talking ludicrously sensitive and sentimental. This manifests itself in a variety of ways: a propensity for hitting the sauce, crippling politeness, uncontrollable facial tics and a deep river of insecurity which binds us all. Hence, dear reader, I often emote privately, in the darkness, to all manner of things: Kodak commercials, Christian the Lion, The Olympics, Michael McDonald songs,you name it.
Anyway, I perked up immediately at the sight of Old Man Marley. For those of you philistines who are not versed in Home Alone, Marley is an Old Man (as his well chosen moniker suggests) who is said to have killed his entire family with a snow shovel and mummified them with driveway salt. Now, ostracized from the hoity-toity Chicago enclave in which he lives, Marley shovels and salts the driveways of his neighbors in relative anonymity. Of course this is total bullshit. The Salt Man has been cast out like a piece of old rubbish for a crime he didn't even commit, just because he's a little bit different. Well excuse me, fictional Chicago suburbanites. Last time I checked, you were leaving your spawn alone on Christmas when there are freakin' Wet Bandits on the loose! Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
Well, wee Kevin McCallister seeks refuge at a church to prey for his parents to come back (why, I don't know. It's not like they even noticed he was gone for ages. Like, in-the-air-crossing-the-Atlantic-Ocean ages. One time my Dad forgot to pick me up from Brownies, but even he realized after about an hour). There he runs in to Salt Man who is watching his granddaughter sing in the choir. Hear that judgers? His granddaughter! He didn't kill his family. If you'd even bothered to ask you would see that they are alive; she is just a ranga. Maybe he wanted to keep that shit under wraps, I know I would.
Kevin and Marley begin a spirited discussion concerning the destructive nature of judgment. Kevin sagely notes that he "had a friend who got nailed because there was a rumor he wore dinosaur pajamas." Haven't we all worn metaphorical dinosaur pajamas? The resident Manimal is a pariah in our building simply for his proclivity for investigating hallway occurrences clad in only his underwear and a pair of ladies' slippers. Kevin urges Salt Man to let bygones by bygones and call his son (presumably the papa of l'il bloodnut) for the holidays. Kevin returns home to wage war on the robbers and **Spoiler Alert** is saved from impending death by Marley wielding his snow shovel like Mjǫllnir. In the film's denouement, Kevin peers out of the window just in time to see Salt Man's wayward son, the rangette and some lady coming over to Salty's for Christmas. The old man, in a preternaturally creepy way, looks up and gives Kevin a knowing smile. This, dear reader, is when I lose my shit.
After I wiped away my tears, poured myself another 'Nog and chastised myself for my lameness, I decided to do some research on this man who could touch me to my very core. Who was this Old Man Marley? As it unexpectedly turns out, Old Man Marley is even more awesome in real life. I know, I know,"That's unpossible, Ronnie!" you say. No, it isn't. Please allow me to introduce you to the wonderful world of Roberts Blossom.
Firstly, let's just take a minute to reflect on how excellent of a name Roberts Blossom is. The added "s" gives Mr. Blossom's handle an unexpected boost and the aural quality of some of my favorite words (Governers General and Whoppers Junior).
I found out that Roberts has had a rich and varied screen career. However, I think the best example of his early prowess, and perhaps the basis for his magnum opus of Salt Man, is a little film named "Deranged". Have a gander at a young Blossom tearing it up (literally and figuratively) in 1974.
Move over Anthony Perkins!
In addition to being a powerhouse in the acting field, I discovered that Blossom is a gifted poet. According to the brilliantly named article, "Home Alone, with his words", Blossom believes that "we're stuck with these identities we've manufactured." Could it be that a little piece of Salt Man lives within Blossom still? That being misjudged by Kevin McCallister had some profound effect on the Harvard educated multi-Obie award winning actor? In the article, Blossom also worries that the condition he calls "we-lessness" has become a "worldwide plague". Sound familiar? Is it a coincidence that Old Man Marley had become an entity of one, shunning his "we-ness" or, in the heavy hands of John Hughes, his family, to his own detriment? I don't think so.
I leave you, dear reader, on this the eve of Christmas, with a poem by Blossom himself. Thank you Salt Man, I will never feel bad about misting up at the end of Home Alone again. I for one am off to embrace my "we-ness". Think about it.
If we could stop
Identifying repeated postures
And dance as
Waves of the ocean