My journey began in a class I crashed with Haras where her teacher showed a clip from Apollo-13. I whispered that I’d never seen the movie and she, burning with the insistence of a thousand suns, replied in a yelled-whisper, “but it’s got Kevin Bacon in it!”
To this day neither of us is sure what that was meant to imply, considering that I’d never expressed any inclination towards Kevin Bacon, or his work. Not to say that I had any strong desire to avoid him . . . until then. After giving it a bit of consideration I realized it was entirely possible that I’d never seen a single movie of his! Once I confirmed my suspicions on IMDB, my objective became obvious. I’d managed to go my whole life without seeing Kevin Bacon (in all his six-degree glory) and I wasn’t about to change that now.
The next few years passed somewhat uneventfully in relation to my Kevin Bacon-avoidance quest. The only real benefit was a ready answer for the “I’ve never” game, which I used on many occasions. And any inclination I had to see Footloose or Tremors were quickly dispelled by a feverish commitment to my new-found quest.
December 31st, 20008. Innocently I agreed to a day at the movies with my friend Werdna. Having already seen Doubt and Slumdog Millionaire we decided to round out the evening with another film we were sure was headed for the Oscars. Enter Frost/Nixon. I’ve never encountered such a difficult moral dilemma in my life.
When the shady character on the street said, “you want to try some drugs, man?” I replied, “No thanks, I get high on life.” (Yes I was thinking of you Irak)
When the kid in chemistry class offered me the answers to the exam, I beat him away with my For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet.
But when I was sitting in that dark theater, watching the opening credits, and saw the big, white letters spell out “Kevin Bacon” I froze. “Trickery!” I screamed. After a moment of disbelief I turned to Werdna with desperation in my eyes, pleading for direction. “I don’t know if I can see this! It’s got Kevin Bacon in it!” “Yeah I know,” he said, “he’s really good.”
Then I knew I couldn’t rely on him, the cinematic experience had already begun to numb his instincts and I could feel their power taking hold of me. For a few, vain, moments I struggled, looking around frantically, weighing the cost of the ticket against my pride, and wondering if I could recover by hiding my eyes every time he came on screen.
I’m ashamed to say that I gave into the peer pressure and tried my best to enjoy the show anyway.
“I’ve never seen a Kevin Bacon movie” Not anymore. Now I’m reduced to saying “I’ve never seen a quintessential 80’s movie in which Kevin Bacon plays the lead and/or dances rebelliously.”
How many degrees of separation between me and a Kevin Bacon movie? Just one. Just one.