Whenever my wife has to tell me something she knows I won’t like she adopts a certain tone that I immediately recognize as “The Bad News Voice”. The bad news voice works just like the serious voice a teacher used, it tells me that this is no bullshit and I’d better pay attention. Sometimes the bad news voice will alert me to the fact that I need to take action, she’ll look at me very seriously and say:
“We’re out of gin”
Or she will use it to break things to me gently:
“We’re out of gin and the Mets are losing”
Finally it can also be used for straight up bad news:
“We’re out of gin and the robots have risen up against their human masters”
This morning I was still half asleep when I heard the bad news voice.
“Honey… Paul Newman died”
I was still half asleep and confused at to how she knew this while still lying in bed, had he died in our bedroom while we slept? She showed me her blackberry and explained that Twitter had broken the news. I wasn’t even fully awake and I was sad already. I knew he was sick it didn’t make the news any easier to hear. Paul Newman may be my favorite actor ever; he was an easy guy to admire both on and off screen and I’ll miss him.
I still remember how I first learned who Paul Newman was. It was 1983 and we had just gotten a VCR so my mother sat me, my brother and sister down to watch a movie as a family. That movie was Slapshot. I was 9 years old and my brother and sister were 6 and 5 years old respectively. Sure it may seem like an odd family movie but my mother wanted us to appreciate the best things in life. We appreciated it just fine and from then on we were allowed to play hockey in the house…we’d re-enact the fight scenes while she played the Paul Newman coach role. After that we’d rent Slapshot out at least once a month, It would be a another year or more before I discovered that Newman was in other movies. Over the years I’ve seen almost everything he’s done and I’m hard pressed to pick which one I like best unless I’m looking for a family film, then it’s Slapshot every time.