Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Raging Bull

You now how when you're little people are always asking you what you want to be when you grow up? Most people use that question as little more than a conversation starter (as if it's possible to start a conversation with a child, as if you'd want to - why not move straight to arson?) but it's always struck me as being a deeply serious and intensely problematic question. What do I want to be when I grow up? I don't have a clue.

The suggestion has been made, of course (generally by people who know me only slightly) that I am already grown up. As anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows, this is a base canard (are there no limits to what people will say? Don't they realise the potential consequences of this kind of loose gossip?) - I certainly don't think of myself as being Grown Up. It's possible, of course, that this is a form of denial - not so much of my own mortality, as of the notion that this is all that being grown up might consist of. There's a line somewhere in Kerouac where he says "I have nothing to offer you but my own confusion". That's more or less how I feel most of the time, and I'd rather not believe (despite the evidence to the contrary) that this is all being grown up really consists of - a brave front, the ability to say the same stupid things, except with more authority. And isn't the fact that I still cling to my ideals of grown-upness proof that I'm not a grown-up yet?

But enough crazy talk. I finally realised, this morning, what I want to be when I grow up. No really, it just came to me, don't ask me why, there was this sudden flash behind my eyes and there it was: I want to be Robert De Niro. Not the old Robert De Niro of Meet the Parents and Analyze That, no, but the young man he's a caricature of - the De Niro from all those Scorsese movies, from Mean Streets and New York, New York, and Goodfellas and Taxi Driver and Raging Bull; the De Niro who played the young Vito Corleone, the De Niro from Cape Fear; the De Niro who was not so much a man as an attitude, a blistering, loose-limbed, in-your-face state of mind. Just once, just for one day, I'd like to be that malignant, that creepy, that obsessive. That intense. That thoroughly no good. Just once I'd like to be taken that seriously; just once I'd like to walk into a bar and feel the room get nervous around me. Just once I'd like to be able to take myself that seriously. Just once I'd like to be that raffishly charming, that outgoing, that impossible to say no to. Just once I'd like to be that cool.

And people say I'm grown up. Ha!

P.S. Thinking about it, if De Niro's already taken, I wouldn't mind settling for Kerouac. If I really had to, that is.


Neela said...

When I'm grown up I want to be Heath Ledger and have a thing going with Jake Gyllenhaal in beauteous mountainscapes.

Failing that I would just like to have a dissertation topic.


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Jack Nicholson is not an option?


Cheshire Cat said...

I'd like to be Walter de la Mare. But wait, I already am... So my children, never despair - if life does not fulfil your dreams, then madness will.

Or I would like to be Mr.Woodhouse from "Emma". Fussy and lazy, and he gets the girl!

zedzded said...

I'd like to be Jean-Louis Trintignant in Un homme et une femme.
The next option would be Garfield :-)

The ramblings of a shoe fiend said...

Being grown up is over-rated. It just means having to make your own coffee, do the washing up and paying your own bills. what's so great about all that?

Falstaff said...

Neela: Hmmm...I'd rather do it the other way round (be Jake Gyllenhaal and have thing going with Heath Ledger) but each to his own.

So, if I give you my dissertation topic will you write it for me?

JAP: I don't know. Nicholson has the creepy intensity, yes, but I don't know if he has the exuberance. Maybe it's just that I feel Nicholson may actually be feasible (at least half a dozen people watched As Good As It Gets and said it reminded them of me, for instance - though I suspect you mean the younger Nicholson).

Cat: What do you mean he gets the girl?! Listen, if we're doing Austen characters then I'm going to be Knightley and if anyone's going to get Emma it's going to be me. Just because I'm nice to you and tolerate having you about the house doesn't mean you can claim her for your own. In-laws, I ask you.

Zedzded: Nice. I have this sudden inexplicable craving for Lasagna

Shoe Fiend: Making your own coffee is a good thing - partly because that way you can get up close and personal with the heavenly scent of freshly brewed coffee, and partly because that way you can make it properly strong. But the rest sucks, I agree - though to be entirely technical let me point out that I have no issues with paying the bills per se, it's making the money to go into that payment that pains me.

ozymandiaz said...

As I understand it being grown up, at least on a societal level, means more or less following the rules. Would this not translate in to domestication? I know that when animals are domesticated they actually remain at an immature emotional state. So to be grown-up means you have to be immature. You’ve got that down pat, baby!

asuph said...

is it a social disease or something, this obsession with telling others to grow up? or is it just a way of convincing themselves that they've grown up, for they're as confused?

i'd like to be jack nicholson's McMurphy, excpet for the tragic end :D

you have a nice blog..


Accidental Fame Junkie said...

Yeah, you really misled people! Good to see this side of you.

Accidental Fame Junkie said...

PS: Now, I sound all grown up!

Falstaff said...

Oz: Interesting progression. grown up = following rules = being domesticated = being immature. But no, no, I refuse to be domesticated. (though there's something about a woman who will make you wear a leash....)

Asuph: Thanks. Nicholson's McMurphy. Right. Shall add to my list and pass it on to M/s. Claus and Reindeer when they pass by.

AFJ: Thanks.