Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We Will Always Be the Knights Who Say Ni

A post from 2009... The other day, I realized that I need to send my new phone number to a certain East Coast friend who is a church organist. We’ve known each other nearly thirty years. He calls me when he needs help with doing devotionals at his church. I’m happy to brainstorm ideas. I owe him very much because, when we were students, he reintroduced me to classical music, an ongoing source of joy.

Before too long, one of us will say something like, Run away! or Your type makes me puke, you vacuous, toffy-nosed, malodorous pervert! or I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper. 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 this same 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
sister- and brotherhood of people connected by memorized references to this movie (and also the series), no matter what other differences we might have. How wonderful 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 and my father smelt of elderberries.

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 probably always be my favorite among cult movies. I first 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 with little more than a reassuring It’s only a flesh wound or a panicked Run away!


  1. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. Say no more. The lumberjack song gets me every time. (I love this entry.)

  2. "This parrot is no more. It has ceased to be. It's a stiff. Bereft of life, it rests in peace. If you hadn't nailed it to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies. It's rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. This is an ex-parrot."