Hello, hello! I’ve returned from a whirlwind weekend rich in family, fun, and plenty of blog fodder. The latter of which will have to keep for now, since I’m only home for three days before jetting off again to (hopefully) sunny Florida for a week-long beach vacation.
Three days. Three whole days of laundry, packing, desk-clearing at work, and 11th hour trips to the gym borne out of equal parts good intentions and desperation. All of which should leave me just enough time to blog somewhere between pigs flying and Hell freezing over.
So, this week I’ve decided to invoke the Ghost of Blogging Past to help me maintain my sanity by running some beloved pieces that have appeared elsewhere on the Interwebs. I’m beginning with a guest post I wrote last summer for Sue Campbell at Mommy’s Pen - although these days you can generally find her going homemade and homegrown over at her new venture, Homemade Frontier.
My husband is a faithful reader of my blog and writing in general. And to this day, the following remains his most favorite piece among the many I’ve penned. So, read on to learn about…
The Tobolowsky Effect
Among the first posts I ever read at Mommy’s Pen was the one about Sue’s acquisition of Fezzik the Giant Chicken. And I knew instantly that I loved her. After all, any fan of The Princess Bride is a friend of mine.
I find it very difficult to restrain myself from tossing any given Princess Bride quote into a conversation if and when the opportunity arises:
As you wish.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.
Have fun stormin’ the castle!
I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
OK, I admit that last one is a little harder to slip in under the pretense of everyday conversation. But it can be done.
The Princess Bride quote I most often use, however, has to be, “INCONCEIVABLE!” which was infamously uttered by the villainous Vizzini, played by Wallace Shawn.
Now, here it should be noted that another reason I enjoy reading Mommy’s Pen is for Sue’s occasional series, Ben Stories, about her husband, Ben. Because Ben sounds like a pretty fun guy. At least, that’s the assumption I have to make about someone who idolizes The Dude from The Big Lewbowski enough to want his very own Dude sweater.
So, today I’ve decided to share a story about my own husband.
Hubs loves that I love to quote Wallace Shawn from The Princess Bride. Because Wallace Shawn is what he likes to call a B-celebrity. And Hubs has this quirky fascination with B-celebrities.
‘Quirky’ is a relatively new term on my part for this particular interest – I used to find it just plain weird. But just as some endearing habits become annoying over time in marriage, so too do annoying habits become endearing.
Of course, my patience only goes so far.
So, when Hubs and his buddy, Doug – who shares this strange fascination – start trying to one-up each other with names of various B-celebrities – each one more obscure than the last – I generally roll my eyes heavenward and move on to something more fun. Like sticking bamboo shoots underneath my fingernails, for example.
Hubs’ affection for B-celebrities stems from sheer non-conformity. A self-proclaimed movie buff, he says the bit characters in his favorite films are often funnier or more interesting than the main characters. And since the actors who play them tend to make the rounds, he always gets a kick out of seeing them pop up in movies and television in various and often dissimilar roles.
Some of his favorite B-celebrities include Sorrell Booke (otherwise known as Boss Hogg), Conrad Bain (America’s favorite 80’s dad on Diff’rent Strokes), and Wayne Night (or, “New-man,” as Jerry Seinfeld would say.) But none surpass his most favorite B-celebrity of them all – Stephen Tobolowsky.
Stephen Tobolowsky has appeared in over 200 titles (205 to be exact), and has played everything from a profanity-spewing head trauma patient in Memento to a bumbling tourist in the now-defunct TV show Las Vegas. But Hubs loves him best as the uber-annoying Needle-Nose Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day, in which he repeatedly torments Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, as a former high school classmate turned insurance salesman from hell.
It’s a role that endeared me to The Tobes as well. From his plucky pronunciation of, “PHIL!?” to the hilarious way he ends each sentence with a random, “Bing!” the Ned Ryerson Quotability Factor is high. After all, given the right opportunity, who wouldn’t want to bust out a gem like, “I did the whistling belly button trick at the high school talent show!”
Last summer, I got into Glee during its Season 1 reruns. Yep… I’m a Gleek. And in the pilot episode, who should happen to show up playing the creepily flamboyant fired Glee club coach, Sandy Ryerson, but Stephen Tobolowsky!
“Hon!” I called excitedly, “Stephen Tobolowsky is on Glee! And his character’s last name is Ryerson!!!” I bet they did that on purpose, those crafty Glee writers.
Hubs entered the room, glanced from the TV to my eager face, and began to laugh.
“Oh, I can’t wait to tell Doug about this,” he chuckled.
And then his expression turned very solemn as he said to me:
“You’re one of us now.”
Who’s your favorite B-celebrity? And what’s your favorite movie quote?
Among Hubs’ many fatherly accomplishments is teaching Lil’ Bit to quote Ned Ryerson by the age of two. I’m so proud. For your viewing pleasure, here’s a compilation of his most infamous Groundhog Day clips: