Friday, August 14, 2009

We Will Always Be the Knights Who Say Ni

The other day, I realized that I need to send my new phone number to a certain East Coast friend. We’ve known each other nearly thirty years. He calls me when he needs help with doing devotionals at his church. Since I write Sunday school material, I’m happy to brainstorm ideas.

I discovered Monty Python during the late 1970s, when episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus were broadcast on our area PBS station. I had not seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, however, until my friend took me to a campus showing, around 1981.

A wonderfully life-changing experience! I didn’t realize it then, but I was thereby initiated into a kind of brother- and sisterhood of people connected by memorized references to this silly movie. How nice when, as I teach Medieval history to a classroom of bored undergrads, I can slip into a falsetto, We found a witch, may we burn 'er? and regain their attention. (One time a student responded, I want a shrubbery.) You can facilitate a meeting concerning department policies by noting, Well, I didn't vote for you, and someone else may pipe in, Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. A while back a colleague e-mailed me about something, and I told him, Go away or I shall taunt you a second time. Of course, he informed me that my mother is a hamster.

I’m told that Caddyshack and The Rocky Horror Picture Show are similarly loved by fans. For a while, when Napoleon Dynamite came out, I could warm up a class simply by saying sweet! with conviction. But Holy Grail will always be my favorite among cult movies. I saw it during my masters degree studies, a positive time of great friendships. In the years since, I’ve made many connections with good people over the years with little more than a reassuring It’s only a flesh wound or a faux-panicked Run away!

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