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Youthful love of explosions goes up in smoke

February 07, 2011

In my well-chronicled descent into grumpy old manhood, some mile markers along the way are predictable: I like to be in bed by 9:30 p.m., I like white socks and soft shoes, and my idea of a perfect car is a 1978 Lincoln Mark V.

But this new revelation hit me out of the blue, and worries more than all the rest put together: I’m tired of explosions.

For a guy, that’s a tough one to admit. But there you have it; everything on TV seems to blow up these days, and it makes me tired.

This is worrisome, because as far back as I can remember, I’ve loved the sight, sound and smell of things blowing up. Pretty early on, boys figure out how to make rudimentary explosives out of pop bottles and common household cleaning products. Then, we graduate to tennis ball cans and petroleum-based propellants and, somewhere along the line, we realize that we have become old enough to legally purchase fireworks, a point in life that most guys consider to be a “game changer.”

But watching the Super Bowl, sometime between the opening kickoff and the third quarter, I came to the startling conclusion that if I never see another explosion, I will die happy.

Part of the problem is that I was already tired and grumpy, having to sit through another butchered, 45-minute rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

When I am king, I will decree that the national anthem be sung AFTER sporting events, instead of before. That way, no matter how long some self-absorbed recording artist feels the need to “Ho-oo-o-o-o-ooo-OO-oome of the bra-waa-waa-waave, do you hear me, I say the bara-A-A-A-aaave” her way through, she can knock herself out, but the rest of us can just go to bed.

And please, if they’re already spending $80 billion on Super Bowl production, can’t someone spring for another $150 for a teleprompter for all the airheads who can’t remember the words?

Oh well, if it were up to me, there wouldn’t be any pomp, although I know that’s the reason a lot of people tune in. There was one special moment for us old people during the performance of the Black Eyed Peas and their special, unoffensive-to-white-people brand of hip-hop.

This was when former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash came up through the stage on a pedestal. Truth be told, I wasn’t 100 percent certain that he was still alive, and for one horrible moment, I thought he might be stuffed.

So anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, explosions, right.

And it’s mostly the movie trailers that are the culprit. For me, movie explosions kind of climaxed in “Hooper” in 1978, when a blast knocked over a brick smokestack that just missed crushing Burt Reynolds. When you think about it, everything since then has just been a variation on that scene.

Yet, now, it seems that no movie can be made without enough gunpowder to refight World War I. If “Notting Hill” were filmed today, it would have to include a chase scene through London with exploding clock towers all around, as Hugh Grant speeds after Julia Roberts in an attempt to return her sunglasses.

But then, that must be what people want. And I’m so out of touch that Beth routinely has to explain the commercials to me. After the Super Bowl, she asked what I thought the funniest ad was and I told her the one — I couldn’t remember what it was for — where the cowboys are fighting space aliens.

She broke it to me gently: “That’s an actual movie; it’s supposed to be serious.”

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video at herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable’s WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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