This Sunday, the HBO series The Sopranos comes to a close.
At the end of anything, one reflects on the beginning. And for me, the beginning of The Sopranos almost got a bit hairy.
I remember catching an episode or two when the first season aired in 1999, but it wasn't until I was in Honolulu months later that I had the chance to watch the entire season. The Bob had purchased the DVD set and one morning, we watched all the episodes from start to finish.
For someone like me, The Sopranos holds a bit of romanticism where anyone can be Italian and anyone can become a Wise Guy. From 7am until about 1pm, we watched the first five or six episodes before feeling the hunger pangs. We decided that we would need to go out and get something to eat.
Watching that much Sopranos changes your outlook on life. It puts you in a completely different mindset. Just a few hours watching and, suddenly, we were "made". In just a few short hours, we were from North Jersey, uttering phrases like "Ohw" and "ugots" and "marone." Hookers, booze, gambling and interstate commerce were on the afternoon's agenda.
Not exactly the ideal mentality for mingling with the public.
Hungry as we were, we decided to head over to Big City Diner for their Kim Chee Fried Rice Loco Moco. For the uninitiated, this is a dish filled with Kim Chee Fried Rice (fried rice mixed with kim chee), layered with hamburger patty, fried egg and lots of brown gravy. For those not familiar with island cuisine, it's complete heaven in layers of fat and gravy.
So, we're sitting there, feeling very Soprano-like, enjoying the discussion and just hanging out when I notice some guy from across the room sitting with his co-workers, staring at me.
What the fuck is this cocksucker looking at?
See, I've already degenerated.
For the next few moments, I'm sitting there, fighting in my mind. The Sopranos-influenced side of me wants to get up, look the guy in the eye and shout :What the fuck are you lookin' at, asshole? - with the total intention of jumping over the table, grabbing the chair and beating him to a pulp if he disrespects me and my crew.
But, what the fuck is wrong with me? I'm an upstanding citizen who's normally laid back and casual. I can't go around beating people because they're staring at me. Or can I?
In spite of the fact that I know he's really just zoning out and staring into space (and not really "staring" at me), it takes me a couple moments to reign my desires from going wild on the guy. My heart's pounding. My palms are slightly sweaty. And I'm scared. Scared of myself.
After lunch, we head back to house for another marathon session of The Sopranos and I decide not to leave the house until the next day when my delusions of hanging with Silvio, Paulie, Chrissy and Tony have subsided and I can go back to being a normal, functioning (and calm) member of society.