Monday, June 1, 2009

The Last Titanic Survivor...

...has died, as of yesterday. And now its time to make my girlfriend feel bad for not watching the movie with me, while the 97 year old ex-passenger was still alive.

Millvina Dean, born in London, was only eight weeks old when she boarded the fated ship on April 10, 1912. One of the greatest naval disasters in world history, and she won't even remember it. In fact, she most likely slept through most of it, tucked away in a postal sack, with a pacifier and a blanket. Her brother, Bertram, not yet two years old, was separated from the family during the chaos, but the siblings were reunited on a rescue ship. Their father, ufortunately, did not survive the wreck.

To me, Titanic survivors are alot like Holocaust survivors. Agewise, they're dinosaurs, ancient, endangered (well, those of the Titanic genus are more like extinct). There's only a few of them left, and we're lucky to see one. But Titanic survivors--when they were around--were never exhibited across school districts telling their story. They never got to show us their "before and after" Titanic photos: "Here was me before boarding - :), while the ship was sinking - X(, and being rescued on a life boat - :(". No kid ever came home to his parents to tell them about the Titanic survivor at their school assembly. Having nothing to do with any major wars, and carrying no famous passengers onboard, historically, I guess the shipwreck had little value. But I can't help but think that Millvina and friends would have appreciated if someone had asked them to speak in their classroom, right?

And now, a story about adolesence, featuring the Titanic:

About a decade and a half ago, when my English teacher was still an English student, he asked a girl out to see Titanic, which had just opened in theaters. He planned the date for Saturday, and was hopeful she would accept. He was rejected however, because on Saturday, the girl had to wash her hair. In retrospect, he should feel lucky. Because if she was being honest and that wasn't just an bogus excuse, I couldn't picture him with somebody that high maintenance. My English teacher has not had the desire to see Titanic since.

Personally, I haven't even seen the movie all the way through yet. I have been to the Titanic museum in Mexico, about half an hour south of the border. The only thing I remember was awkwardly watching the naked portrait scene on some TV with a group of fellow tourists, who I'm sure felt just as awkward as me. The thing that bothered me about that particular segment, was the commentary provided by Kate Winslet's "real-life" counterpart Gloria Stuart, who narrated parts of the movie. She said something along the lines of, "I was so nervous," or "My heart beat so fast as I undressed", while looking back at the erotic encounter. Whatever her lines were, it was not something I wanted to hear from a 101 year old.

Unlike me however, there are people who have gained wisdom from the more sensual aspects of Titanic, one of them being Shane Dawson, who learned about sex by watching the film.

(Note to self: Do not leave your ice cream cone sitting on your laptop while typing. Especially when it is on your lap. It will fall.)

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