“Love Story” Meets “Gone With the Wind”
It was the summer of 1970, and the movie Love Story, from the novel by Erich Segal, was all the rage. Cameron was an avid reader and had read the book. Not bad for that genre, and an easy read, but Cameron was not one for romance novels. His idea of a feel-good movie was something like Taxi Driver. He, more or less, had anticipated every step of the plot of Love Story from start to finish. Cameron had no desire to see the flick, but he was going to be hard-pressed to get out of it. His steady girlfriend, Courtney, wanted to see it in the worst way. Thus, it was inevitable that Cameron found himself waiting in line on a beautiful Friday night for the 9:00 show. Courtney had spoken to friends, and came prepared with plenty of tissues. “Everyone said it was so moving” she gushed.
Not long afterward, Cameron had his tub of butter popcorn and they had settled into their seats. The place was a full-house, not an empty seat in sight. As the lights dimmed, Cameron felt the first surge of an immense gas bubble in his tummy. No big deal, he thought. This will pass.
He was wrong. As the movie dragged on, Cameron sensed he may have hooked the Moby Dick of flatulence. The gentlemanly thing to do would have been to excuse himself, hit the mens room, and let her fly. Ah, but what a waste. How often in one’s life do we have the chance to perform something so totally inappropriate and offensive to a standing-room only crowd? Not very often. Cameron had to decide whether he was going to slink off to the bathroom or go for the gusto. Was he a man or a mouse? He pictured himself letting it go and his torso flying around the theater like a balloon that had been fully inflated but not tied.
Then the movie edged towards its climax with the poignant hospital scene where Jenny (Ali McGraw) is preparing to expire with Oliver (Ryan O’Neal) weeping at her bedside. There was not a sound in the theater apart from sniffling and the blowing of noses from time to time. The time for action had arrived. With Courtney hugging him, her head on his shoulder, tears dripping down her cheeks, Cameron craned in his chair and casting aside the inevitable repercussions, swung for the fences.
The sound that resulted was unlike anything Cameron had heard before or since. Imagine starting up a lawnmower and having it blat like a baritone sax, at astounding volume. This continued for three to four seconds before it began to climb the musical scale, culminating with a trilling flute-like finale. It had taken perhaps five seconds in all, but a most remarkable five seconds. Cameron felt that this was more than a simple bodily function he had produced. It was almost art. He wondered if Picasso had felt this way early on when the genius in his work was yet to be recognized. Thinking of what could have been created with a hard wood surface rather than a padded theater chair was mind-boggling.
For several moments afterward, there was no reaction. People, perhaps, had to take a moment to be sure they had actually heard what they heard. Then the place erupted. There were shouts of anger at ruining the closing scene of the flick, screams, curses, laughter from the smattering of other potential artists in the crowd and virtually every other response. Courtney, who had been cuddled in close, lunged away aghast.
“What is the matter with you?” she asked, quite loudly.
“Oh right, trying to blame that on me! Shame on you” I responded, just as loudly.
“I most certainly did not do that” she screamed, her face contorted in anger.Tasteless Humor