I have a friend here in our retirement community, Paul Lerner,
whos by way of being a writer. He writes for a senior newspaper we get
and also writes short stories for an online magazine with a funny name,
mop-something. I mention this because I guess being a writer explains why he
has a wild imagination and comes up with these crazy ideas. The other day,
after our weekly chess game, he asked, Have you ever heard of a Swedish
actor, Max Von Sydow?
The name sounds familiar, I answered.
He started in Ingmar Bergmans films. In
Seventh Seal, he was a knight who plays chess with the devil.
I dont think I saw that one.
Anyway he went to Hollywood and hes made a lot of
movies, some good and a lot not so good.
So, what about him?
Did I tell you I bought an iPad last month?
Yes, several times.
Right. One of the apps I got was Netflix. You know
Im a Woody Allen fan.
Ive seen some of his movies. Pretty funny.
Yes, his early films were comedies. Then he wanted to do
more serious ones, like Ingmar Bergmans. Netflix had a very good
documentary on Woody Allens career on the iPad. After I watched that I
naturally became interested in Ingmar Bergmans movies and I found out
some of his early ones were on Netflix on the iPad so I watched them and the
leading man was
Max Von Sydow.
Right. A very young Max Von Sydow. In fact, I looked it
up; hes about the same age as we are.
Pretty old. So what about it?
A couple of nights ago we watched a movie on TV, not from
Netflix; I think we recorded it from one of the cable channels. It was called
Incredibly Close and Very Noisy. Its about a boy whose father
is killed on 9/11. Theres an old guy in it, the boys grandfather.
The actor who played him was
Max Von Sydow.
Right again. A much older Max Von Sydow.
Okay, Im still waiting.
The movie is really about atonement. The boy didnt
take a phone call from his father so his mother never got a chance to say
good-bye. In the movie, the boy searches for people who might have known his
father. It comes out that he didnt take his fathers last phone
call, so hes driven by guilt. He finally tells his mother at the end. The
thing is that Ive been meaning to call my cousin in New York. We had a
fight, I cant even remember about what, and we havent spoken in
years. Seeing that movie made we realize we arent getting any younger and
Id better do something before it was too late.
How do you know hes still alive?
I called my sister. Shes still in contact with him
and she had his phone number.
So you called him and you kissed and made up.
No, I called and got his answering machine so I left a
Has he called back?
Thats it, for now. But you dont get the point.
It took all of those seemingly random events to get me to make that phone call.
Watching that Woody Allen documentary. Watching those early Ingmar Bergman
movies. Seeing Max Von Sydow in that movie about 9/11. Even, going back
further, getting an iPad.
But those are just things that happened.
As I said, seemingly random events. But, you see, the
harmony of the universe was disturbed because of the discord between myself and
my cousin. It had to be restored and those not-so-random events saw to it that
Harmony of the universe?
Yes. Its a philosophical tenet.
If you say so.
We left it at that, but the thing is that my wife and I watched
an episode in a TV miniseries, the Tudors, last night. Its one of those
historical dramas with lots of conspiracies, betrayals, violence and sex. When
they ran the cast of characters I saw that one of the actors was Max Von Sydow,
This reminded me of Paul and his cousin and this reminded me that I had a
situation like that of my own. It wasnt that Id had a fight with
someone years ago, but I had a good friend living in San Francisco and I guess
youd say wed had a cooling off. Id been meaning to call him
for, oh, I guess a couple of years. I looked and found I had his phone number.
Ill try to get him tomorrow. I wouldnt want to disrupt the harmony
of the universe, right?