Jan 6, 2012
A few days ago, the doorbell rang about 5:30 p.m. We weren’t expecting anyone, so my husband grabbed his shotgun in case it was a salesman. The boys quickly gathered round, but when Joe looked out the peep hole, he froze in his tracks. “Shhh!” he whispered frantically to all of us, “It’s Liam Neeson again. Pretend we’re not here.” Liam sometimes overstays his welcome, so we hid from the windows and tried not to make any noise.
Half a minute later, Hans looked through the peep hole to see if Liam had left, but he was still there. However, Hans spied a beautiful bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in Liam’s hands. “He’s got food!” Hans exclaimed. Call us sentimental, but as soon as we heard there was chicken, we swung the door open, giving Liam an especially warm welcome.
“Come in, my old friend,” my husband said to Liam, putting the shotgun back in the umbrella stand and giving our guest a hearty slap on the back. Liam returned the gesture with a harder punch to Joe’s arm. Grimacing, Joe turned to grab the shotgun, but I stopped him, mouthing the word “chicken.”
Liam waltzed into the kitchen, plopping the bucket of chicken on the dining room table. “I’m starving! Being a movie star sure makes you hungry,” he said. He dug into the bucket, handling each piece of chicken until he carefully picked out all the white meat for himself.
“Ewww,” one of my sons said.
“Be quiet. It’s free,” I reprimanded.
When his plate was full, Liam invited the rest of us to dig in. The boys and Joe immediately descended upon the bucket like vultures. Nothing was left for me but a broken biscuit. Seeing that Liam had most of the chicken, I politely asked him, “Can I have one of your drumsticks or something?”
“No, it’s mine!” he shouted, baring his teeth. He ate voraciously and proceeded to drink one can of Dr. Pepper after another.
“Take it easy, Liam,” I said. “That’s loaded with caffeine,” but three cans of soda later, Liam was wound up and giggly. I didn’t want the kids to see him like this, so I had him wash the dishes and vacuum until he got rid of some of that extra energy.
When Liam settled down a bit, we retired to the living room to chat. He told us wonderful stories about his recent movie, all the while speaking with that beautiful accent. I don’t know what part of Asia he’s from, but I could listen to him speak all day.
“Enough of chatting about me,” Liam said. “Let’s have some entertainment!” Thinking that was their cue, my sons immediately jumped up to retrieve their musical instruments. Liam quickly stopped them, saying he was talking about watching a movie. The boys fought back tears of disappointment while they put their instruments back in their cases. Liam faked a cough, simultaneously muttering “girly boys.”
“Don’t listen to him, sons,” I said. “That’s the Dr. Pepper talking.” I shot our guest a dark look, so Liam apologized.
He changed the mood by telling the boys he had a surprise for them. He said he brought a movie about some llama. We love animals, so even Joe and I were quite thrilled. Liam then held up not one but TWO versions of the same movie, one in VHS and one in Beta. I don’t like when celebrities flaunt their wealth, but I gasped in disbelief despite myself. Even when George Clooney comes to visit, he has to rent a DVD. We’ve never met a star who can afford two different media formats.
We popped in the film, and I was captivated from the beginning. The name escapes me, but the movie was about a German guy who spent seven years in Tibet. Within minutes, however, we realized there was no llama in the movie at all. Nor was there a half-man, half-llama character, as we hoped. Soon we realized that there were no martial arts either. No Bruce Li. No Jackie Chan. What kind of a movie was this? Joe and I began finding excuses to scatter, but Liam paused the movie and told us that if we dared to leave, he would ask the boys to play their instruments. Frightened, we quickly returned to our seats, and Liam hit “play” again.
Anyway, let me “fast forward” through this story. The movie was about a man who gains wisdom after living with the grounded Tibetan townsfolk and the Dalai Lama until the Chinese attack and occupy the country. Liam watched the movie so many times that he knew all of Brad Pitt’s lines, which he recited throughout the whole movie. We didn’t mind. It was like having surround sound.
The movie made us think about the simple way of life these Tibetan folks live, and by the end, we were all inspired to find ways simplify our own lives before the Chinese attack us. Liam said he would start by staying in four-star hotels instead of luxury resorts. My husband said he would stop going to the barber since he is bald anyway. The boys said they would ride their bikes to school and college instead of hitchhiking. I said I could buy prepared, prepackaged foods instead of cooking from scratch and wasting time and money. Liam pointed out that prepared foods have preservatives to make them last longer, so that means our bodies will stay healthy longer too. It was all making sense.
Liam left, but the impact of his visit stays with us, and we started 2012 on the right foot. Best wishes to all of you as well, and I hope each of you can achieve a simpler, grounded way of life before the Chinese attack you too. Happy New Year!
Jackie S. Phillips