cheherazade was a young, impressionable child.

ometime during the Johnson administration (Scheherazade can't remember quite when), her mother took her to see her first drive-in movie: Reptilicus.

t was also the first giant rubber monster she ever saw. It warped her young mind forever. She never forgot Reptilicus . . . well, that's not exactly true. The truth is, she forgot most of Reptilicus -- but -- certain images from the movie lodged themselves permanently in Scheherazade's little brain.

hat was waaaay back before cable television and VCRs. It was a whole lot harder to see movies back then. It seemed unlikely that she would ever see Reptilicus again . . . but she never forgot that gruesome chunk of monster tail lying on a slab in the lab . . .
ears passed. Lots of them.

hen Little Bohemia on the Hinkson finally got cable service, a whole new range of possibilities opened up for its inhabitants. Scheherazade's first hope for this wonderful new medium was to some day, maybe . . . see Reptilicus again. It was her fondest movie wish. But she never saw Reptilicus on cable.

ore years passed. The VCR became a household item, and a few years later came cheap videos for sale. Ancient awful cheeseball movies were being re-released on video by the droves! Surely, thought Scheherazade . . . surely, sooner or later, someone somewhere will release Reptilicus, and she would finally be able to see it again.

he checked the video rental places regularly. She diligently prowled through every vid store in town. She scoured catalogs, searching for Reptilicus. She had no luck whatsoever until 1992.

n 1992, Scheherazade was a poor, starving college student. To amuse herself one day, she went browsing through the video store, as she had done for years. She was browsing through the alphabetical racks of tapes, scanning their spines for something interesting, when all of a sudden, there it was.

he couldn't believe it. After all those years, there it was -- ! Reptilicus! She held it in her hands, turned it over and over, gazed longingly at it . . . and then put it back on the shelf. Being a poor starving student had transformed a $9.99 video into an almost unthinkable luxury. Scheherazade wouldn't be paid until the following week, so with no small amount of discipline she turned and walked away from the Grail.

t wasn't until she pulled into her driveway that she finally came to her senses. At that moment, the scales fell from her eyes. "Omigod," thought Scheherazade in utter dismay, "what have I DONE??!? I waited 25 years to see Reptilicus again, and then I just LEFT it back there because I was too cheap to spend ten bucks!! Oh, hell . . . "

he threw the car into reverse and drove straight back to the vid store. She parked and walked directly to the spot where she had left it twenty minutes earlier -- but it was gone! Yes, gone. Scheherazade circled the rack several times, frantically reading video box spines. Eventually her circling slowed, and she began to realize it was simply not there. Hope momentarily kindled anew as she thought of ordering a copy. But the clerk told her Reptilicus couldn't be special ordered, because it was sold as part of an assortment.

cheherazade was crushed. She had held it in her hands! She had waited twenty-five years! And she had let it slip away . . . shaking her head in disbelief at the cruelty of the cosmos and her own poor judgment, she turned to leave, empty-handed.

ut then -- just as she turned, she saw it. There, behind the clerk, over his right shoulder on a wee display shelf sat -- yes, ANOTHER COPY OF REPTILICUS!
he clouds parted. The angels sang. She was redeemed! She had been granted a reprieve from the consequences of her earlier misplaced priorities, and Scheherazade rejoiced mightily and pulled out her credit card.
he would've paid $50.00 for the darned thing at that point, but fortunately the clerk charged her only $9.99. She hurried home with the Grail of Reptilicus, anticipating the superlative experience which lay before her. At last, it was hers. She could watch it over and over again. Ah -- ! Hers was a rare exhileration, indeed.

nce home, she performed the twin rituals of coffee and popcorn making in preparation for the long-awaited event. Then Scheherazade took a breath, started the VCR, and watched.

. . . . . . . . . . and watched . . . . . . . . . waiting . . . . . . . watching . . . . . . . waiting . . . . . .

aiting for what, you ask? Well, she was waiting for the movie to get better. It was AWFUL. Even Scheherazade, who is inordinately fond of bad movies, thought this movie stunk. She watched, feeling a growing sense of distress. It was the distress of a favorite bubble burst. It was the distress of seeing a beloved illusion dissipate before one's very eyes. This was not what she had sought.

cheherazade encourages her visitors to draw their own conclusions as to the lesson or meaning or moral of The Parable of Reptilicus. Is it that wanting is sometimes better than having? Is it the confusion of content with context? Or is it, as Homer Simpson would say, just a bunch of stuff that happened?

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