Boy, did I see a classic Holloween movie this evening! I am fond of fright classics, like the original Nosferatu, by Murnau and Bela Lugosi’s Dracula series, the colorful Hammer Studio films with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, for example. And you’ve gotta toss in Aliens, and Night of the Living Dead, and maybe even El Topo. I like scary. Now I’ve done more than 40 feature films, so I know a lot about how they’re made, I’ve even appeared in some pretty memorable tv episodes that keep some people up at night, like an episode of The X-Files. I was Sheriff Andy Taylor and after it’s first showing, the Fox network vowed never to re-air it again. Of course they started marketing the video the very next week. Seems the switchboard lit up with complaints about ‘disturbing content’ and what not. Pussies. It was after all, their first episode ever to post a disclaimer at its opening: This may be disturbing to young viewers.” Boy was it ever. And then there was my kareoke Angel of Death in an episode of Millennium. His name was Dr Steven Kiley. Notice a pattern here? They were both written by the same mischevious tandem of Jim Wong and Glen Morgan, producers of both series. They started out on 24 Jump Street and then went south. I’ve even been in a few movies that were so bad, it was scary, like Bio-Dome…but that’s another story
Earlier today I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee, some issues with an old college football injury that needed a 50,000 mile checkup. My surgeon is tops (last guy who worked on my knee was the Jets Sports Doctor) and I had full confidence in the process. I’m now back home, happily medicated, knee elevated and feeling pretty cocky. Not much swelling, zero pain and that cane they gave me will be collecting dust. Since I can’t drink (no really, it’s a bad idea) and I’ve got a hot date tomorrow afternoon, lets rest up and turn in early. But first, since they presented me with this video of my surgery as I was being wheeled out of the hospital, why not end this day with a private screening, the premier of TUCKERS KNEE JOB?
I slipped in the cassette, fired up a Pall Mall and leaned back to ….Jesus, what is that? It’s like an underwater film sequence, excellent focus and colors, kinda….sexual. Hmmmm. Is this the right tape? There are these smooth curved shapes, vaguely breast-like, and thighs and buttocks …Its all pink and creamy ivory and they’re opening and closing and WHOA! WHAT IS THAT?
Suddenly this gleaming silver seriously sharp scalpel-like object appears and begins to slice away strands of …whatever it is I’m made of and the excised portions shimmer and undulate in the surrounding fluid, like anemonies, drifting away as …(Ahhhh I get it. This sexual slow grind of my interior is the surgeons flexing my knee to bring areas into their range.) This continues for a bit and I‘m becoming more comfortable with it all. I mean, I know this is my body and all, but these guys know what they’re doing, right? Hell yes.
Course I did appreciate them putting magic marker symbols on the correct leg. They put a white thigh-length stocking on my other leg, just to make sure they got it right. Kinda hot, actually. I’ve always had a thing for candy stripers. During my check-in, there were the numerous forms and questions, one of which got my attention. “OK, do you have an Advanced Directive?” Isn’t that from Star Trek? “It’s about your wishes …”(If things go south, you mean?) She smiled and said, “If you were to become unresponsive, state law requires that we know whether you want full code, no code…” I told her I have a living will, and should I ever find myself in a persistent vegetative state, I’d wish to be allowed to move on. In fact, I’d be grateful if someone would help me along…(kinda like my Steven Kiley character did, with nice drugs and a song.) But we’re talking about today, right? “Yes, of course, but should for example your heart stop…” I said, “Well, hey, if my heart stops today, I’d appreciate it if you’d get that sucker started up again, OK? Jesus.
So this terrible swift sword of a micro scalpel is stripping away these strands of cartilage and seems to have run out of frayed substance, there’s a bit more flexing and then, WHOA – DONT CUT THAT! THAT resembles a slab of abalone and this blade is slipping in and cutting out a serous chunk of ME! That stuff looks ok, guys are you sure….? Whew, ok, they seem to be satisfied with that business and there’s a bit of swirling as fluid is injected into the arena and the silver scimiter is slowly withdrawn. I’m breathing a bit more calmly now, “There now, Tucker, that wasn’t so bad was it?” I reach for a potato chip when suddenly JAWS appears on the screen. Do DUH. Do DUH. Actually it resembles not so much a great white as it does the barracuda I happened upon, off the coast of Bermuda. Sleek, efficient, and as they hang there, poised, waiting, they seem to smiiiiiile in anticipation. Here comes this sawtoothed long necked, shiny implement gliding thru the bulbous nooks and crannies of my knee joint and without ceremony, it begins to BITE and BITE and BITE away chunks of me-ness, knee-ness, goddamn, how much of me are you planning to eat? Are you full, yet? This is hard to watch, guys, seriously.
I know I’m unconscious, I know this is a microscopic adventure, I know this is what they came to do, but still. It’s like watching hyenas patiently take turns eating you alive. I’m grateful I waited until after dinner to put this on and my certainty is reaffirmed, I could never be a surgeon. NEVER. It’s too personal. I’m waaaay too empathetic. Finally the ‘cuda is sated and slowly withdraws, back to his lair, presumably to digest his victim. “Boy, that Tucker is good eatin’. Tastes a little like chicken”
I’ve watched footage on Animal Kingdom of buffalo, passively seeing their entrails torn out and devoured. There’s something about the look in their eyes… resignation, disassociated with their immediate reality, which kinda sucks, so I’d guess shock is a blessing. With hardly a pause for popcorn, the next character in my movie resembles a moray eel, but one that seems to be sucking out all the bits and pieces where my knee used to be…