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“What is the medical name for a sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach?
Epigastric sensation.”  

from the Handy Science Answer Book Compiled by the Science and Technology Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, c. 1994.


I picked up a DVD of the movie Crash this weekend at a Lawn Sale. (50 cents) Finding Crash felt serendipitous for a couple of reasons.

First, because Lonely Crazy Housewife No.1 has been heavy on my mind lately, and I have been thinking about the scene in which Sandra Bullock, playing an unhappy one-percenter housewife, leans on her housekeeper as her ‘only friend.’ Bullock’s character abuses this same housekeeper in preceding scenes.

The second reason is the deluge of Katie Holmes rescue analysis, which has brought to mind Paul Haggis, who wrote and directed Crash. He is another Scientology refugee.

In Crash, there is a sequence of scenes involving a locksmith and his daughter, who is five. The family has recently moved out of a crime-infested, dangerous neighborhood where a stray bullet came through the daughter’s bedroom window. The locksmith gives his little girl an imaginary cloak, tells her it is bullet-proof and that it will protect her. She worries, doesn’t he still need it? No, he says, not anymore. A day or two later, a raging maniac pulls a gun on the locksmith in front of his daughter. She runs in front of him to protect him, and the gunman shoots.

I am not going to tell you how the sequence ends. I only know by hearsay, anyhow. I was under a blanket with my fingers in my ears repeating, no no no no. Humming to myself. That kind of thing. Normally I fast forward through scenes like this. I make sure I can handle the outcome. Then I go back and watch the scene again in real time. But I was watching Crash with my husband. He (understandably) doesn’t like to watch movies this way.

My physiological response is abnormal? Yes? There is probably some psychological term for this condition. One of my kids inherited it from me, and was almost airlifted out of Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. Maybe it’s an inability to distinguish fact from fiction. Or simply some kind of chemical reaction in the brain as it responds to the events on the screen.

After the shooting, I was too exhausted to watch the rest of the film. And I had trouble falling asleep.

Why do we put ourselves through this?  Why can’t a story be happy and boring like a walk on the beach with your dog?

You don’t have a dog? Why don’t you have a dog? Get a dog.

 

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