Tropical Depression: How JAWS changed my life For a good portion of the 1970s I lived in Montauk, NY. I knew girls named Wendy and Phyllis, had a dog that got into fights and lived in a white house on top of a big hill across the street from the beach. Most of my memories of these years involve the beach. I spent a lot of unsupervised time there. In the winter sand and snow would mix and blow across the road into drifts. I was not even 10 and was completely happy.
There was a younger girl who lived next door to us and she and my older sister were good friends. This girl’s family was the first on the hill to have a movie playback device known as DiscoVision. I wasn't really a part of the clique but I was invited to watch a movie one summer day; a blockbuster from a few summers before called “JAWS”.
It was a sunny day and light was coming through the curtained windows washing out a lot of the image on the TV. Though I could appreciate that it took place someplace like where I lived (the beach), I was not impressed by the movie. For most of that summer my sister and the girl watched JAWS what seemed like every day and ultimately my sister became afraid of sharks, which had never been an issue. When she finally returned to the beach and to my company it was my duty to use JAWS against her.
It was just the theme music that I used, really. How easy it was to reproduce! Duh-nuh. (pause) Duh-nuh. (pause) etc.. faster and faster until she ran screaming from the water. And maybe she cried. Was that the first spark of love?
When I finally saw JAWS again I fell in love with the movie; specifically with Roy “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” Scheider. Martin Brody was the father I dreamed of having. Responsible, suntanned, flawed, magnetic. You could just tell he loved his family even though it wasn't always easy for him to express. Love wasn't always pretty. Years later he was Dr. Benway in “Naked Lunch” and it rekindled my love (“Benway!”). Roy died over the weekend (2/10) but his celluloid oeuvre persists. I will always have a soft spot for his clean cut good looks and I will always do my best to choose the right sized boat for the job.