Face it, Helen Hunt was lucky to catch lightning in a bottle in her role as a struggling single-mom waitress with a kid with some kind of health issue. The Academy all but fell all over itself to give the Best Actress award to Hunt for her performance that evoked more sap than the average Canadian maple tree.
And I like Jack Nicholson, but I’m pretty sure whoever else was nominated for Best Actor in 1997 deserved the Oscar more than Jack. Sometimes, the Academy gives out an award more for someone’s entire career than for one specific performance and I have no doubt that’s why Nicholson got a third Oscar to put up on his very expansive mantel.
However, there was one scene that stood out in what was an otherwise forgettable movie. Nicholson’s character, a neurotic writer of romance novels, was asked by a female fan about how he was able to write women characters so well. His reply was this:
“Well, first, I think of a man…And then I take away reasoning and accountability.”
Most of the rest of the movie was treacle, but that line was brilliant. Now, I don’t think that’s how all women are hardwired, but it does sum up how someone whom you normally enjoy being with and makes you happy can drive you to the point of exasperation.
And I think of that line often, or at least a variation of it, at times when my older daughter, Maddo, tries to explain herself, why she’s done something a certain way or just speaks in her general three-year-old view of the world.
When it comes to Maddo, instead of taking away “reasoning and accountability”, I sometimes believe that she was born without any capacity for logic, or sanity. There are times when I think she is more insane than Eddie Van Halen for booting bassist Michael Anthony out of Van Halen for no reason other than Mike wanted to remain friends with Sammy Hagar.
“I’m not gonna be your best friend!”
“Because you didn’t have a birthday party!”
It should be noted that I didn’t have a birthday party. But this was because it was: a) Still a week before my birthday, and 2) Since I’m not eight, I could really care less about having a birthday party for myself. I’m still recovering from the puppet-show destroying riot at Maddo’s third-birthday party back in December.
“Mommy, you’re bad because you don’t listen to me. I only listen to my Daddy! Daddy, be quiet!”
Now my wife, The Thoroughly Awesome Ms. Crums, can’t help but listen to Maddo. That’s because Maddo never stops talking. I’m not kidding. She rattles her baby-teeth-and-gums so constantly that I think we should have made her middle names “Congressional Filibuster”. By the way, when she told me to be quiet, the only noise I was making was the “Oh, yeah” of satisfaction inside my head after taking a long swig of Sam Adams new Alpine Spring lager.
“Daddy, I won’t be on your team because you don’t talk to The Monster!”
“OK, sweetie…Where’s The Monster?”
“He’s a Dragon!”
“I thought The Dragon was your friend.”
“He doesn’t get to come into the Princess Castle because there’s no Barbie doll for him!”
At this point, my bearings have become more twisted than a corkscrew. I don’t know if she believes she is making this stuff up, or if she really thinks we need to implement a NO DRAGONS policy for her Princess Castle. And she has so many Barbie dolls in the castle that there are enough for The Monster, The Dragon, Dora The Explorer, Rapunzel from the movie “Tangled” and even her sister, Little Sis, to each have one, if we could convince her to share with her sibling and not have them break down into a UFC-cage-match-level screaming fit.
“I don’t have something, a lot of treats for you…I’m looking for a book…Can you pick me up…OOSH! GAH-SHEE, GAH-SHEE, KA-CHA, KA-CHA, KA-CHA! I love you..PICKLE, DADDY!”
She then started running circles around Little Sis, who was standing in front of the TV and transfixed by what had to be the girls’ 437th viewing of “Sleeping Beauty.”
Maddo is just three years old. I have to remind myself that conversations with her aren’t always going to go from Point A to Point B to Point C. More often than not, there will be all kinds of side roads and detours before we reach our destination.
Especially ones that involve asking for a piece of candy, then telling me not to look at the moon because it will turn into an evil witch. Logic may not prevail in Maddo’s world, but I can’t fault her creative imagination.