An inconceivable (!) truth

When you get down to it, the world is divided into two types of people.  Figuring out which type of person you are will enable you to properly judge just about everything going on around you.

If I was a young man again and newly in love, I would want to know on precisely which side of the line my heart’s desire fell.   Our eternal happiness might well depend on it.

It’s not that we couldn’t overcome the strain of being on different sides of the line.  It’s possible, but it’s not easy.  There would always be that gap between us—a way of looking at life that we would always be struggling to explain, instead of the effortless wink of an eye, or just a word or two of verbal shorthand that always hits the nail on the head.

And it has nothing to do with being a Republican or Democrat, or even where we choose to spend our Sunday mornings.

When you get down to it, the world is divided into two types of people.  Those who know “The Princess Bride,” and those who don’t.

For those who don’t, you can keep reading, but a lot of what I’m going to say won’t make a ton of sense.

“The Princess Bride” is both a book and a movie, though more people have probably seen the movie than read the book.  What’s it about?  Fencing.  Fighting.  Torture.  Revenge.  Giants.  Monsters.  Chases.  Escapes.  True love.  Miracles.

It’s the story of a beautiful farm girl who falls in love with the handsome stable boy who works on the farm.   But he goes away to earn his fortune and the scheming local prince snatches her from the family farm to make her his bride.

Complications ensue.  She’s kidnapped by a Sicilian braniac, a Spanish swordsman, and giant with a fondness for rhyming words.  There are chases.  Rescues.  A big reveal.  Swordfights.  Poisoned goblets and duel to the death.   Swamps that belch fire.  Rodents of unusual size.  A guy with six fingers.

Once you know who among your friends is a Princess Bride fans the world becomes a simpler place.  When someone inadvertently says something that rhymes you can burst out with “no more rhymes and I mean it!” and then wait a delicious moment for the poetic response.

When you’ve come through a difficult ordeal you can mention that “oh yeah, and I also had to deal with a few R.O.U.S.’s” and everyone will smile and understand both your pain and your bravery.

Did I mention pain?  My world changed the first time I heard that “Life is pain, and anyone who tells you different is selling something.”

And thanks to “The Princess Bride,” I’ve been sure to never going against a Sicilian when death is on the line.

I’ve reminded my children that “when I was your age, television was called books,” and when they left for school I would occasionally invite them to “have fun stormin’ the castle!”

I’ve shared with my friends that true love is the greatest thing in the world, except for a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

And when it’s time to end the day, it’s always pleasant to say, “good night, sleep well, I’ll probably kill you in the morning.”  (Note:  this doesn’t work well with younger kids, even if they’ve seen The Princess Bride.  Save it for when they’re older.)

It’s always fascinated me that when the movie came out in 1987 it wasn’t a big hit.  It didn’t really take off until it came out on video.   But since then, wow.  It’s one of the reasons I can’t take Mandy Patankin seriously in Criminal Minds.  Every time I see him, every single time, all I can hear is “Hello!  My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father, prepare to die.”

When you get down to it, the world is divided into two types of people.  You know who you are, depending on whether you enjoyed this column or not.

If you haven’t seen it, it was recently on Netflix, but is gone now.  Sorry.  Get used to disappointment.

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