Get a Move On


Friend and military wife Liz pointed to moving as her writing prompt of choice. She’s soon off to Colorado from Dover, and in the midst of the massive pack-up.

Back in 1992, after a semi-failed attempt at graduate school, I found myself moving for the 3rd time in 12 months. Craig and I were renting a professor’s desperately-in-need-of-a-spiff-up house and, exhausted from the packing, taping, wrapping, sorting, and general mourning involved with the move, we decided to take a movie break. Sorting through the prof’s VHS collection, we chose an early Mel Gibson pic—a little feel-good movie called Gallipoli.

If you’ve never seen it, Gallipoli, besides being fun to say, is Peter Weir’s not-necessarily-so-historically-accurate account of the historic World War I era battle between Turkish and Australian/British forces. The story, in short, is this: Mel Gibson makes a friend, Mel Gibson and friend go to war, Mel Gibson fails to get vital message to the front line in time, leading his friend and countless countrymen to be mowed down in a merciless hail of gunfire.


Needless to say, it was the worst possible movie choice of all time for two people whose unemployment and academic overwhelmedness had sprayed a big, giant firehose of hopelessness on their otherwise sunny prospects. Looking back now, the fate of the poor Australians should have made our situation sparkle in comparison. But, being the “glass is not just half empty, it’s dirty, cracked, and probably loaded with stomach-churning bacteria” kind of person that I was, I took the movie as a metaphor for my own angst-ridden existence.

Moving—touching every item of my own “stuff,” making decisions about what to keep and what to toss, mourning the “here,” fearing the “there,” experiencing the crunch of the ticking, ticking clock—it’s not at all my favorite thing to do. For me, it’s one of those barren experiences that needs to be managed to be endured. It needs a soundtrack, a cinemascape, a tasting menu, a recreational program just to be bearable.

I think that if I were in the same situation again, I’d make some light and ridiculous viewing choice to counterbalance my own inner drama queen: PeeWee’s Big Adventure, The Jerk, Shaun of the Dead, repeating loops of SNL’s Blue Oyster Cult cowbell sketch, even Jerry Lewis in The Disorderly Orderly. Heck, I’d even watch the Time/Collection of the ’70s infomercial. They’re mindless and pointless, and when you’re emotionally raw and kind of mentally exhausted, they’re guaranteed to leave you on the floor grasping for your inhaler.

As long as you haven’t packed it, you’ll be all set.


  1. maggie hogan said,

    July 11, 2009 at 8:34 am

    Beautifully put! Your movie choices leave me laughing too-I’ve seen NONE of them! I’ll add my top pics for funny escapist flicks:
    1. Most ridiculous and LOL funny: Earnest Saves Christmas
    2. Both funny and sublime: As Time Goes By (Brit series)
    3. Funny and somewhat crude: Fawlty Towers
    4. and of course, Month Python & the Holy Grail

    Bob and I moved every 2 years before we ended up and Dover – not missing the moving thing at all! I prefer to do my “moving” with a piece of carry-on and a return ticket home.

    Write on! . . . and writer that you are, you’ll appreciate this link to a news story about a fabulous effort in Britain:

    • scheirmad said,

      July 12, 2009 at 7:54 am

      Hi Maggie,

      Thanks for the list and the link!

      2 thoughts:
      1. You must find a way to see Spamalot–You will DIE laughing!
      2. From writerswrite–Bill Nighy: Love him. Shaun’s Dad (step-dad) in Shaun of the Dead.
      3. My dream celeb booksellsers? Naw, that’s giving too much away. Maybe Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould, but only if they were nice, friendly, and completely rated G.

      Take care,

  2. Andie said,

    July 13, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Mr. Bean’s Holiday. Funny and a great view of France!

  3. Cheryl said,

    July 13, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    LOVE that one!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: