Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rex Manning Day

Not everything worth celebrating has to be tied to a great person or an important event. Sometimes we need to take a breather from bills and obligations for a little while even if it happens once a year. I’m suggesting we make a holiday with all of the importance of Columbus Day or Casmir Pulaski Day.

I propose we all get together and celebrate Rex Manning Day.

This will sound silly to anyone who hasn’t seen “Empire Records,” so if you fall into that category, find the movie. Watch the movie. Embrace the movie. Then you will be able to fully embrace an idea whose time has come.

I could go into the movie, the plot, the acting, the music, and the moral of the whole thing, but I’m not Roger Ebert. I just like the idea that a record store like Empire Records could have actually existed. I grew up before the internet became the only place to buy music. When I was a kid you could go to a Best Buy or a Great American Music or if you were really lucky you might have a small independent record store you could turn to for the stuff you couldn’t hear on the radio. It might simply be my age showing, but some things can’t be improved upon. A small record store with an eclectic mix of employees, patrons and music beats My Space, scouring the internet for one interesting new band, and shopping at Walmart for top-40 artists handily.

This could easily become a “boy these kids today…” discussion, but rather than dwell on that, I will say that there are times when I wish my kids would know what it feels like to get their allowance, wait until somebody brings them to the record store, shop around while listening to Thelonious Monk or Pavement, and be waited upon by someone who rolls their eyes condescendingly when you set your money down to buy Ratt “Out of the Cellar.”

That’s what music fans look like: the one who can’t wait to get that new cassette home or to the nearest walkman and the one who’s so convinced that their music is the finest ever made while looking down on anything else. The memories are like warm blankets on a cold winter day. Even the eye-rolling from the wizened record store clerk is like chicken soup for my soul.

But that’s just me. This is about us. We deserve Rex Manning Day. We NEED Rex Manning Day. We need a day filled with memorable lines from the movie, and nametags that say “Warren” and young ladies willing to dress like Liv Tyler and Renee Zellweger. OK that last one is mostly a selfish request on my part, but those who do will hold a special place in Rex Manning Day history (and my heart).

I am proposing April 16, 2011 to become Rex Manning Day officially. Why? Mainly because it gives some time to plan, and it happens to be a Saturday that falls after the evilest of holidays: Income Tax Day. Kissing your money goodbye should be followed by something good. Call it a little balance in an otherwise unbalanced world.

How are we going to do this?

That’s a better question. Other than watching the movie and sharing the love for all things “Empire Records,” I’ve got nothing. If I weren’t currently embroiled in a messy and costly divorce, I would gladly look into taking on the cost of renting a fine, cinematic establishment and invite people far and wide to join a viewing party that would exceed all others. But I can’t afford that. The best I can do is buy the DVD and bring it to your house to watch it there. I’m hoping you will provide the refreshments because once again, poverty knows no bounds.

Or we can all decide to use the social networking outlet of our choice to chat about the movie in real time if we all agree to start it at the same time. This sounds impersonal and cold, but I’d be willing to bet that it would still be fun. If we get some comics to agree to do it too, it could be a lot of fun. If you don’t believe me, you obviously didn’t witness the Doug Benson (and countless others) live tweeting of the Academy Awards.

Or better yet, leave some comments below. Nothing is official yet, so we get to make it up as we go along.

The only thing we know is that Rex Manning Day is going to happen. April 16 is the date. You want it. I want it. It will make the world happy.

Tell everyone you know about Rex Manning Day. Send them the link to this here masterpiece of an idea.

Make it a big deal because we can. We got a black guy elected president, didn’t we? This is so much easier than that.