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Jonathan Livingston and the sounds of birdies

Heidi Rice
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Fried Rice
ALL |

It all started off with a really bad movie we’d rented and sat down to watch earlier in the evening. The movie was so bad, in fact, that it could be used as an insomnia sleep aid.

The name of this particular flick is “Grown Ups.” And from first appearances – with comedic stars like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James and Rob Schneider – you’d think it couldn’t miss.

But you’d be thinking wrong.



“Grown Ups” is about five guys who used to play junior high school basketball together, who meet up again 30 years later after their basketball coach dies and they spend a Fourth of July weekend at a cabin in New England together with their wives and children and bury their coach.

Think of a really bad version of “The Big Chill” coupled with the human ash-spreading scene from “The Big Lebowski” …



Not only is there not a strong plot in this movie, but there is foreshadowing and sub-plots that lead to absolutely nowhere. “So what ever happened to the bird that got hurt when the kid jumps off the rope swing?” Husband-Head demanded to know in the middle of the movie. “They can’t just hurt the bird, make a big deal about it and then not ever tell us what happens to it!”

As the plot and sub-plots plodded on, at one point I got up from the couch and decided that flossing my teeth would be infinitely more entertaining.

Later on in the evening, Husband-Head and I were lying in bed, grateful to be done with the bad movie.

Husband-Head turned on his new “nature sounds” machine that I had given him as a Christmas present. On this particular evening, he chose “Ocean,” which featured the sounds of waves and seagulls crooning in the background.

We lay there and listened to the soothing sounds.

“Hey, remember that movie, ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ from the early 1970s?” I reminded Husband-Head.

“Yes, I do,” Husband-Head agreed. “My oldest sister named her son, Jonathan, after him. Although I’m not sure if, to this day, he knows he was named after a seagull. …”

Apparently Husband-Head’s sister was in charge of picking all kinds of names.

“Didn’t she choose your name as well?” I asked Husband-Head.

“Yes. I was named after McCartney with the Beatles,” he sighed. “She had a crush on him.”

I thought about it for a moment and then laughed.

“Hell, at least she didn’t have a thing for Ringo,” I pointed out. “I don’t think I could’ve married a guy named ‘Ringo Rice.'”

“Why not?” Husband-Head protested. “I like that name!”

But as we lay in bed and the ocean and seagull sounds continued, we got back on the subject of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.”

“That was a really popular book and movie in the ’70s,” Husband-Head recalled. “But what was it all about?”

“I can’t remember,” I admitted. “But I think it was something about a seagull.”

Husband-Head rolled his eyes and – not being able to stand it – got up and went into the office to find out what it was all about on the Internet.

A few minutes later, I heard gales of laughter coming from the other room.

“It’s about this bird that goes flying around the world,” he called out. “Apparently, he doesn’t like being a regular seagull, so he becomes a more highly evolved seagull.”

I knew the Green Bay Packers had won in the playoff game earlier in the day, but Husband-Head hadn’t seemed THAT intoxicated. … There were a few moments of silence before Husband-Head began to laugh again.

“And now he meets a seagull named ‘Maureen!'” Husband-Head cried out.

I had to laugh at that one because it’s my mother’s name. …

“And now he’s flying around and watching some horses getting it on,” Husband-Head said with shock. “He’s Jonathan Livingston PERVERT!”

Somehow I didn’t think “getting it on” was the proper terminology to describe horses reproducing. …

As I lay awake in bed, Husband-Head continued to give me the rundown of the seagull’s travels.

“NOW he’s in the desert!” Husband-Head informed me. “It’s Osama Bin Livingston! I wonder how many birds they had to kill to get THIS shot! Seagulls don’t fly around in the desert!”

In the end, when we finally finished laughing, Husband-Head came back to bed and turned off the sound machine.

“I’m sorry, honey,” he sighed and turned over. “No offense, but I don’t think I want to listen to the ocean or the sounds of seagulls tonight.”

OK, Ringo Rice.

Heidi Rice is a columnist for the Citizen Telegram and the Post Independent. Her column runs every Thursday in the CT and every Friday in the PI. Visit her website at http://www.heiridice.com to see more columns or her book collection. Contact her at hrice@rof.net.


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