Tony Soprano & Me
Posted December 14, 2009on:
When I’m feeling down, as I did earlier last week with my severe knee pain, nothing cheers me up more than The Sopranos. I watch two or three episodes and begin to feel better.
Does that seem incongruous? I’m a non-violent person. But, I’ve always had a thing about gangsters, although I prefer the sanitized versions.
It all goes back to my childhood – and is the core of one of my beliefs.
First, let me get on the psychiatrist couch – I know psychiatrists don’t really have a leather couch that you lie on when you talk about your childhood – but let me be on the cyber couch anyway.
When I was little and twice dislocated a kneecap, I had a full length cast on my leg for six weeks. That kept me out of school for six weeks, something that wouldn’t happen today.
I used to sit and watch The Untouchables TV show, using my crutch like a machine gun. I can say that I only learned later that the crutch didn’t have bullets, perhaps a reason that I refused to use them like a normal person with an injury might.
I loved to watch all the members of the Al Capone gang laugh whenever he did and stop abruptly when he did. And, I wisely learned not to sit with my back to the door in any restaurant, something that is still a habit today. Friends and family have enabled me by letting me choose my seat first when we go out to eat. Everyone laugh.
Stop laughing now.
I became interested in The Sopranos late in the game, as we did not have HBO. That’s the network where every fifth word needs to be the f-word. If it had children’s programming, HBO would require it every tenth word.
So why do I love The Sopranos? It’s about family, crime and otherwise, and I love my family. Loving my family is the value I have in common with the Soprano parents.
As morally reprehensible as Tony Soprano is, he is a father. He went on college visits with his daughter. Okay, he whacked some guy while he was on the trip. But he was a father driving in the car with his daughter, talking with her the way parents and adolescents only do on car trips.
I went on college visits with my Michael and I didn’t whack a single person.
The Sopranos have all the same family problems that any family might have plus many more, of course. How human is it to have surly teenagers – not that I had them. Tony and Carmela worried about their kids’ futures, and what parent doesn’t? Tony fought with his mother, not that I fought with mine or my children fought with me. Every single minute is wonderful with my children and family.
Stop laughing now.
Of course, the Sopranos had the added problems with their family of being involved in organized crime, which they didn’t exactly want their kids to know. Meadow, the daughter, broached the subject on that college visit trip and Tony tried to convince her he was in the waste management business. She no longer bought it.
And then Tony was not exactly faithful to his wife. And he was gone a lot. OK, the only thing that was family value-like about Tony was he loved his kids.
For the record, Dick and I never had any problem talking to our kids about what we do for a living. We’re both writers.
And the truth be known, I don’t have tens of thousands of dollars hidden amid the birdseed by the backyard pool. I don’t have a pool or even birdseed.
But don’t mess with my family.
And, for the record, I have not watched The Sopranos for a week. Things are good.