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December 4th, 2005

My inner geek

...at least I hope it's just an inner geek most of the time...

Last night Linda Blair signed at Dark Delicacies, and I let my inner geek out. I showed up, got in line with lots of people who seemed infinitely more interesting and cooler than me, and stood there feeling like a sweaty-palmed nervous teenaged nerd. Why? I'll tell you in a minute.

So I got up to Linda (who looks fabulous, by the way, and is composed and funny to boot), had her sign two copies of her book, Going Vegan (I'm pretty much three-quarters of the way there already), and then whipped out the piece-de-resistance: An 11"x14" black-and-white photo of her taken during the shooting of The Exorcist:



Of course her jaw dropped, and she said, "Where did you get this?!" I told her I'd had it for probably 30 years, at which point she blurted out, "Why?"

So, here's the back story, which I wish I could have given her, but she would probably have had me arrested for stalking if I had:

The Exorcist isn't just my favorite movie - it changed my life. For real. I saw it as a young teenager (my mom was cool that way), and up until that point I'd thought about pursuing a career in anthropology; I did science projects on evolution and won prizes and all my teachers were certain I was on the road to anthropological greatness. And then one night, about two months after the film had first opened in December of 1973, I sat in a sold-out theater and watched people scream and faint and run out, and my world was rocked. Within two hours it was over, bye-bye anthropology, hello filmmaking. I was astounded that a film could have that effect on that many people - that any work of art could possess that power - and I wanted to be the one creating something that intense. I became obsessed with the film after that - I saw it over and over, I studied its script, I broke it down from every possible angle. I have scrapbooks and books covered with my little teenaged notes about how certain effects were created, how the script was written, what scenes were cut and why. This was also back in the day when collecting movie memorabilia was still an affordable hobby, and I amassed a nice collection on the film. I even have a personalized license plate which reads EXRCIST, symbolizing for me not just my admiration for the film, but my commitment to the vocation I chose as a result of the film.

Of course meeting William Peter Blatty a few years ago was the ultimate descent into geekhood, but remember that Linda and I are almost exactly the same age, so as a teen I had an immense amount of both envy and affection for her involvement in this life changing experience.

What I told her, of course, when she asked why, was simply that it was my favorite film. She then noted her slightly perplexed expression in the photo, and said, "Yeah, that's pretty much how I was feeling at the time - 'Why are they doing all this to me?'"

Anyways, I wasn't arrested on the way out of Dark Delicacies, so I guess I didn't totally geek out. I suppose you have to let the little nerd out to play once in a while, after all.