Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ship of Dreams

It's common knowledge that back in elementary and middle school I was a bit of a Titanic enthusiast. I had all the books, including the ones by Bob Ballard which had all the scary-ass pictures of the ship dripping in rusticles. The Titanic was like my first boyfriend. It was the first in a long line of old-timey tragedies that I obsessed over, and nothing could ever compete with the furvor I felt for it. I would say that a majority of my first pieces of writing were Titanic-focused and I can't count the number of times I tried to get my best friend to "play Titanic" with me when she was over. (She usually said no, and instead we pretended we were hilbillies, which is another post completely.) I want to reiterate that this was way before the Leo D movie. So way before, in fact, that I went to see the James Cameron opus for the first time with my older brother in order to check for "historical inaccuracies." Square from the start I was.
Since this obsession sort of coincided with my entrance into puberty, it's probably not surprising that I had crushes on many of the people whose stories unfolded on the Titanic. And upon watching the last forty-five minutes of A Night to Remember on TV yesterday, I realized that those crushes still exist. Following is a list of my top five Titanic crushes. It might make it less historical and more exciting if you pretend this is a Vh1 countdown and sing "What A Man" to yourself while you read.

5.Second Officer Lightoller--This crush was basically based soley on his awesome name. In reading I'd always get excited when I saw him get mentioned, and then I saw a picture of him and it wasn't that impressive. Still, mad love.
4. Noah Griffin--This dude was made up completely by me and is evidence of my need to cram everything I'm interested in into everything I imagined. Noah is the eldest son of the US President I made up who served during Theodore Roosevelt's terms. He and his sister Agnes went on the Titanic and I believe all of them survived. Agnes met and married the equally fictional John Jacob Astor Jr. and their descendant is now on Broadway. Oh, Noah totally survived because he eventually had a son named "Tyger." I think Tiger Woods hit it big the summer after I thought of this development. I was pissed. (Also, Noah looked like Devon Sawa. Niiice.)
3. Jack Thayer-- Probably the first in a long series of crushes on tragic dead people. Bosie, Kermit, meet your predecessor. He was, I believe, the son of a Philadelphia railroad magnate. On the ship he got separated from his family and had to leap from the side of the ship and cling to the overturned collapsible. He survived and got married and had kids only to later commit suicide. Tragic!
2. The Lift Attendant--He was a late addition to my list, appearing only after the computer game Titanic: Adventure Out of Time appeared in high school just before the movie came out. I definitely remember being in Algebra class doing my impersonation of the lift attendant for my friends. "Going up?" Indeed I am, Lift Attendant. Indeed I am.
1. The Wireless Operators--These guys are again like Lightoller where I would go crazy when they got mentioned in anything, but when I saw their pictures, it left something to be desired. But there's something awesome about a couple of dudes who just sit in a room with each other wearing headphones on the greatest ship ever built. What did they talk about? When nothing was going on, did they just hang out? How did they decide who got to sleep when and who had to work when? Did they make bitchy comments about all the richy-richies on the ship? So mysterious! There are just so many questions and not enough answers. What we do know, though, is that there were two Morse-code knowing dudes sitting on the Titanic in little sailor-like outfits. Isn't that hot to imagine? Trust me, it is.