A Me Called Öve

I went to breakfast with MomDonna today, because: Mother’s Day, you buncha idiots.

I mentioned when she asked what I’ve been up to – after the initial flashback panic to when she’d ask me that as a kid, knowing full well that I’d been up to being a little shit – that I’d been mostly staying home, since it was a Dry Week. Which basically means I’d watched a lot of movies, including A Man Called Otto.

Me: I was actually kind of surprised that I liked it. It didn’t seem to get good word of mouth during its release.

Mom: You know, we watched that, too. But it was so sad, with all the suicides –

Me: Gotta love a movie with a warning label!

Mom: – that we had to watch another movie right afterward. Something fluffy. What was it honey? Something about taking a gigolo to a wedding.

Me: <blinks>

Mom: Who was the girl in that?

Me: Debra Messing.

Mom: I think that’s the only movie I remember her doing. Of course, your father thought it was Amy Adams, but I knew that wasn’t right. And who was that boy?

Me: Dermot Mulroney. Also, you’re kidding. Wedding Date? I watched it right afterward, too!

Which just led to an entire side conversation about why dad would watch that movie – or care that they did. Short answer: young Amy Adams. When mom heard that, something snapped into place with her and I could see the realization that she’d been outfoxed by dad’s inner Bill Clinton, which he usually keeps well hidden.

Of course, I knew the next maternally owned synapse that fired started a list of ways in which dad would slowly pay for low key tricking my mother and enjoying a movie he normally wouldn’t for reasons she would think he totally shouldn’t.

Marriage, amirite?

All of this was a welcome distraction from the potential conversation that I am Otto.

And I admit it.

Not because people are idiots – which, they totally are. Here’s how I know people are idiots: they don’t know it.

But, rather, because I never read the source material for the movie. That would be a book called A Man Called Öve.

Maybe a bunch of my gentle readers already knew that. Probably so, since I don’t just give away the honor of being excluded from the population I commonly refer to as Stupid Americans. That has to be earned by demonstrating intelligence or good taste or critical thinking skills. All things that following my blog would certainly indicate.

However, the reason I’m sure many people did not know what the source material is is because the movie originally took the book’s title, but it didn’t test well, so they changed it. Likely, said testing likely occurred with the aforementioned Stupid Americans.

We’re fighting a culture battle in this country that is not at all figuratively a battle of wits. Remember: never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

So, that’s how we end up with the movie’s name.

But that’s not the point. Or the full point, anyway.

The point is that I never read the book.

I had thought it looked like one I’d appreciate, but never deigned to find out. You see, I was working at the airport at the time. My business was running five news/gift shops, so I definitely saw the book. Not just daily when I made rounds to my stores, but dozens of times on the concourses being carried conspicuously by the unwashed masses that also looked like they hadn’t a clue what they were doing or where they were going. Or how that book ended up in their hand.

There they were, just careening – or more likely, moseying – down the concourses while I moved about with a determined gait and obvious focus as I navigated around them. More often than not, a close call would cause me to mutter some iteration of Otto’s frequent pejorative: idiots.

That is what struck me about Otto: his and my own righteous grumpopatomus tendencies.

Certainly, his were kinder, having limited himself to the sole label of “idiot”. Also certain, in real life those labels were likely cleaned up to allow book and ticket buyers the deniability of being included as targets of Öve/Otto’s ire.

Can’t bite the hand of the idiots that feed you, after all.

As an example of that phenomenon, here’s a few examples of how this manifests in my day to day. Most of the time, it’s fairly gentle – unless you’re the target.

If the perceived offense is particularly WTF, they’ll earn something closer to this.

But I try to reserve that for my friends and closer acquaintances. They get me enough to not be offended. Or when I’m alone in my car, which happens often. The expletive, not the alone in my car part – which should be assumed. Nowadays when I’m in my car it’s usually to take some lazy idiot his chicken nuggies.

For the rest of those fucking idiots, I keep it in my head. I know them well enough to know they’d rather go to the trouble of retaliating for my correct assessment versus accepting the feedback and working toward a better version of themselves. It’s easier to just be a problem for everyone else.

It still surprises me that none of my friends made the connection. To me, at any rate. Who knows, it’s entirely possible they saw my personality in that character but just didn’t mention it. I mean, the day after this Portlandia sketch aired I woke up to several texts and emails calling me out…but I’d missed it because the show was on too late and I was already in bed!

A Me Called Öve

8 thoughts on “A Me Called Öve

  1. Oh, my Dog! Where to start?!? Suffice it to say, I GET you and it’s because I live with your twin brother from whom you were separated at birth. We watched it too and despite the film’s “feel good” undercurrent, he liked it. Of course, the cat helped. The LOL moments in this post are too numerous to enumerate but the Bill Clinton clip has me giggling still. And to think, he COULD have grabbed her by the pussy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You might think that as a blogger I suffer from that whole “look at me, look at me” plague that is absolutely destroying American culture. But, no…comments like yours – specifically the last line – remind me that I do it for the connection to other awesome (yes, lumping myself liberally in with that group) people. Never did I think someone would make that connection. Epic. And not for nothing, an example of the differences between the uses and the thems: owning our own party’s sh*t. We own Billary and their baggage, they refuse to even acknowledge their trash has bags.


  2. When my Mom died in 2017, I inherited my share of her extensive book collection. I kept a couple stacks of ones I might potentially read. During the pandemic, I realized I was never going to get to them all and began designating some for the donation bin. I read the jacket synopsis of A Man Called Ove and was not interested in what I thought was another heartwarming tale of a curmudgeon won over by adorable children. But I began skimming, got hooked, and finished it in a few days. Later I was stunned to see a movie preview for a Man Called Otto and excitedly began informing my wife and everyone in the theater within earshot that I read the book and Tom Hanks was really Ove. No one seemed interested. I have not seen the movie because my wife has had other priorities but am looking forward to seeing what was changed to accommodate the new venue.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So many topics – We’re fighting a culture battle in this country that is not at all figuratively a battle of wits. Yes. The Lowest Common Denominator for America the Refugee Camp and No Child Left Behind is heading into negative number territory. Which really sucks from an IQ standpoint. And as you stated in an earlier post there is no exam for the right to vote. There is one for driving, but it must be a fucking cakewalk these days. I base that on all the “Bad to text and drive for everyone but me” idiot fucks on the roads. Which I have been advised alerting to the error of their ways because somehow people kicked out of the military for mental health issues, illegal aliens and those recently released from prison all have guns. Which shows the ludicrous sides of licensing, voting and gun control. It’s estimated 30% of Texas drivers don’t have a license or insurance. But they have automobiles, voter ID and guns. More sterno for MY grumpy old man campstove.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. At last – Covid brain fog lifted for a moment – “Can’t bite the hand of the idiots that feed you, after all.” That is a job requirement for being a teacher in 2023. Along with a kevlar vest. I know this frist hand as I am read some of the atrocious shit that passes for “school work” that wouldn’t have gotten anyone over 40 out of third grade, much less into college. And, on your Look at Me attention whore remark I am reminded of Chris Rock’s 4 pathways (five if you consider the first literally and figuratively) Show your ass. Be infamous. Be Excellent. Be a victim. Then look around the blog and SM world at ALL the motherfucking victims. Here is a scary stat – 3 out of 5 kids are depressed or suffer anxiety over social media. That’s big numbers. Over something that’s not even fucking REAL! Godamighty. As my mother used to say, “Go outside. Be home for lunch.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those were the days. And it’s probably a shortage of advice like that – or the absence of people in that role to give it – that creates such a shocking statistic like you mention. 60% of kids with anxiety or depression. JFC.
      We are almost literally leaving them to “figure it out” from the end of parental leave instead of a parent being there to nurture our kids in this country. It’s no wonder we’re seeing diminishing returns on newer generations of adults.

      Liked by 1 person

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