In the spirit of Dennis's post...
Today, that fantastic film blog, Sergio Leone and the Infinite Fly Rule, turns five! If you're not reading it already (wait, why aren't you?), head over and peruse both Dennis' fantastic posts and the well-deserved praise and birthday wishes he's gathered. Dennis is one of the nicest people I've met in the film blogosphere, and I am both happy and very grateful he's stuck around this long to illuminate us (in all senses) with his insights.
As I read through today's birthday celebration, wherein the number five kept understandably popping up, I suddenly flashed on the Harlan Ellison story "Jefty Is Five," which contains the line, "Jefty is five, Jefty is always five" (bear with me, this is going somewhere). Ellison being Ellison, this line becomes the basis for a dark, tragic (and quite brilliant) short story about the loss of childhood wonder that inevitably occurs as one gets older.
I couldn't figure out (aside from the play on numbers) why this story flashed in my head reading Dennis' post, since Dennis' sensibility is so different than Harlan Ellison's. But it struck me that in many ways, Dennis is that story's titular character, if he'd managed to maintain his enthusiasms, geeky passions (and I hope it's clear by now that I mean that as a compliment) and true love for his favorite popular culture. In Ellison's tale, Jefty's encounter with an adolescent gang leaves him physically and emotionally bruised, and ready to conform; Dennis, as several folks point out in today's birthday wishes, is fearless in his love of the Dodgers, Speed Racer and other strange objects that the rest of us might choose to dismiss. And he writes about them with such grace and good humor that he belies Ellison's thesis-- it is possible to grow up and be a father, husband and professional while maintaining that youthful sense of movies, sports and the wider world as an immense and magnificent playground. Dennis' gift is to be our guide around those grounds, to enthusiastically point out their wonders, and to catch us up in his excitement. Thank you for that, Dennis, and happy anniversary!