Friday, January 16, 2009

Who Wants To Be A Slumdog?

The very first cover photo of me was taken when I was four. It's on a book about the school for gifted children I attended. In the picture, I'm wearing a headful of curls, cat-eye glasses and an itchy-looking jumper, and my hand is raised so high that I appear to be in danger of dislocating my shoulder, because I knew the answer, and couldn't imagine not sharing it.

The biggest trauma in my life at that point was that the older boys on the long bus ride from the city to the school's manicured campus in a converted Long Island mansion teased me mercilessly, calling me "Squeaky" because of my high voice and doing icky boy things like putting fake vomit on the green vinyl seat next to me.

My childhood journey differed greatly from that of Jamal, the hero of Slumdog Millionaire with the unspeakably horrific young life who seemingly only knew his "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" answers by accident.

I had a head stuffed full of facts by the time I was on Jeopardy. But I lost.

Jamal won, not because he knew the answer, but because he knew The Answer. Which, as John Lennon said (see below), is Love. And with Hope around the corner, that sentiment, always appealing even if it's provably fictitious, is why I think Slumdog Millionaire will win the Best Picture Oscar. I haven't seen all the likely contenders yet, so I'm not sure it should.


(Video largely shot in my backyard. I especially like the little dance in the bandshell.)

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