Yesterday was my morning to sleep late. I couldn’t, however, and turned on the TV at roughly 8:45. Forrest Gump was on.
I love Forrest Gump. Not the running scenes, which are inane to the 100,000th degree. But the rest is pretty engrossing.
Yesterday, however, I became sorta bummed. I began watching at the point where Forrest and Jenny are getting married, and good ol’ Lieutenant Dan shows up in a swank suit, with his “magic legs” and an Asian wife (a very nice touch, I’ve always thought). Everyone’s happyâ€”Jenny is wearing a flowing white dress, she’s got a floral wreath in her hair, Haley Joel Osment (Word of the wise to Dakota Fanningâ€”rent, don’t buy) works as the ring boy, it’s a beautiful sunny day, blah, blah, blah.
Thenâ€”BAM!â€”Jenny dies. Of HIV-related causes. Or full-blown AIDS. We never know for sure. But it’s utterly, insanely ludicrous. In her final days, Jenny was still breathtaking. Blond hair blowing in the gentle breeze, flawless complexion, lips the hue of fruit punch. And, once again, she was dying of AIDSâ€”way before the modern medical advances that have made it much less nightmarish than it once was.
Even worse, we get a good look at the tombstone, and Jenny was 37. Thirty-f—ing seven!? That’s how old I am. Damn. That means the cool Jenny, hanging out at parties, doing drugs in penthouses, chillin’ at Woodstock and stripping to Bob Dylan songs, was long gone, replaced by a lame suburbanite who served coffee at Howard Johnson’s (this last line is a guess). Is this my fate, too? Not AIDS, but blah-ness? Am I already there? Is life truly like a box of chocolates? Not the kind from Godiva, with rich swirls and breathtaking flavors. But a Russell Stover variety pack, $6.99 at your local CVS.
Makes me feel like playing ping-pong. Or showing Lyndon Johnson my butt wound.
Or jumping off a cliff.
PS: I have no idea who the woman in the above photograph is. But when I Googled “Jenny Gump,” she was the second option.