Thursday, November 28, 2013

An adventure in mind

Me, shot by Andrew Wardlow
PANAMA CITY BEACH — It was a weird weekend, but that’s why I’m thankful for it.

Friday night, I enjoyed watching “An Adventure inSpace and Time,” the dramatic story of the creation and evolution of the British TV series, “Doctor Who.” That was followed on Saturday afternoon by joining the millions of viewers who tuned into the worldwide simulcast of the Doctor’s 50th anniversary special, “The Day of the Doctor.”

(For those still in the dark, “Who” premiered on the BBC the night after JFK’s assassination and it has continued in one form or other ever since. I discovered the show in the early 1980s when WSRE in Pensacola ran episodes featuring Tom Baker as the Doctor.)

Kendra Wardlow
Saturday evening, I loaned my sonic screwdriver (the Doctor’s trusty all-purpose instrument) to a friend for a photo shoot focusing on some geek iconography, including “Who” and the late, lamented “Firefly.”

Just before that, I had participated in a photo shoot involving smoke, flames and a face-full of flour tossed with glee from off-camera by people I thought I could trust. In the background, a child ran around wearing a Buzz Lightyear costume.

All in all, a pretty fun way to spend an evening.

But it set me to thinking, as I am prone to attempt, about the connections. Buzz’s catchphrase — “To infinity and beyond!” — would not be out of place on “Doctor Who,” where the adventures break all the rules of time and space in service to a good story, and the Doctor is apt to shout “Geronimo!” before leaping into action.

Buzz, of course, was a hero of the “Toy Story” movies, and what were we doing with the sonic screwdriver and T-shirts sporting sci-fi and comic emblems but playing with toys and wearing costumes? (The subject — as you might recall if you’ve been paying attention recently — of my column that appeared in The News Herald only a day before this photo shoot took place.)

Brady with Sparkler
Projecting my thoughts into the near future using that timey-wimey device called imagination, I realized that one of the things I would be giving thanks for on Thursday was to have days like this one in my metaphorical pocket: Friends gathered around a fire pit, doing something creative and silly, sharing our geekdom in an explosion of flour and smoke.

It was a simple thing on the surface, ephemeral even, but I feel certain I will draw this one out like a holiday ornament in years to come and marvel that it actually occurred; I was there when this happened.

And a final thought that connects along the flimsiest of circumstances: While flicking a borrowed lighter to ignite some sparklers by the pit, I recalled the words of actor John Hurt; in the “Who” anniversary special, he plays an incarnation of the ever-changing Doctor and states that, “Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.”

The words were fresh in my brain, and though the lighter sputtered and died in the night breeze, I thought, “My privilege, indeed.”


Happy Thanksgiving.

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