I haven’t seen “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” in a long time. It’s not a film classic that comes to mind when people ask about my favorite movies.
It’s more like the comedy equivalent of junk food. The premise is ridiculous. The story is unbelievable. The protagonist is embarrassing. The supporting cast is filled with actors who will look vaguely familiar to anybody who’s seen enough very old sitcoms.
But it’s a movie that makes me happy. It makes me laugh like the child I was when I first saw it on late-night television years and years ago.
I’ve been wanting to watch it again recently, but I haven’t. I downloaded a copy and started, but I turned it off quickly — because I realized that I didn’t want to watch the movie as much as I simply wanted to share it with someone I love.
When we think of being in love with someone, we think of all sorts of romantic things. Our ideas have been clouded by images from romantic films and even by romantic memories we have of times in our own past relationships.
But one of the most underrated aspects of being in love is sharing the things which mean something to us — even if some of the things we want to share are a little ridiculous.
After I started thinking about my desire to share this movie with someone, I realized that this is true of a lot of things for me. What’s more, it made me more conscious than ever that one of my favorite parts of loving a woman is sharing the things that matter to her, even if they’re things which might have otherwise meant nothing to me.
I want to share with someone the places and stories and films from my past which have mattered to me. I want to experience with her the things from her past and present which have mattered to her. How could you possibly love someone and not want to experience the sights and sounds and joys and sorrows that have meant something to her (or to him)?
I’d like to take a woman to a newspaper where I’ve worked. I’d like to be able to show her where I sat and show her the bound volumes of my old work — to point to things I did which I was proud of. I’d like to be able to show her the places that mattered to me.
I’d like for a woman to take me to the places in her past — her hometown and her college and such — for her to show me the places where she had triumphs and defeats early in life, places where big things happened in for her, places which live in her memory even if nobody else thinks about them.
If you love someone, a movie which you might never have paid attention to becomes special — not because it was part of your past or even that you think the film is great, but simply because it meant something to her.
When we love, we certainly share our daily lives — and all the things that go with living a normal human life — but it’s also really important to experience what’s important to the person for years before. It’s important to understand what mattered to that person. It’s important to get to know the likes and loves and passions of that person.
So I’ll save this old copy of this ridiculous old movie. I don’t need to see it all by myself again. But I’ll save it to share with someone — the ridiculous faces of Don Knotts, the scary old organ that plays by itself and the hilarious old spiritualist ladies with their seances.
I miss a lot of things about being in a loving and caring relationship with a woman, but I realize — painfully — that one of the things I miss most is sharing these ridiculous wisps of our shared memories.