Jason Gurley

By day, I'm a user experience designer; by evenings/weekends, I write novels from my home in Scappoose, Ore. My newest is Awake in the World, published February 2019 by Roaring Brook Press; my previous novel, Eleanor, was published by Crown in 2016 and has since been translated into German, Portuguese, and Turkish. I’m currently working on a new project.

Starring Steve Carell as...

A couple of weeks ago, I had a wisdom tooth extracted. There were two in need of removal, and my dentist was going to take both that day, but the first one proved such a painful and difficult experience that he decided to call it quits once it was finished. So when I visited earlier this week to have the last wisdom tooth removed, he made sure I was well-sedated and comfortable. The procedure went well, and afterward, my wife and daughter took me to Target to fill a painkiller prescription. Since we had to wait twenty minutes for the pharmacy to fill the order, we killed time shopping (which probably makes Target's shareholders very happy). 

Now, I don't recall most of what happened next. The drugs that the dentist had me on during the procedure are not only designed to make you loopy, they're designed to work as a mild amnesiac. The only reason that I know any of this happened at all is that I found a stack of brand new DVDs beside our television, and one of them was the Steve Carell/Tina Fey comedy Date Night

Which neither my wife nor I would buy in a million years, because... well, we just wouldn't do that to ourselves. 

It was very important to show you the bilingual version of the DVD cover here, for some reason. 

It was very important to show you the bilingual version of the DVD cover here, for some reason. 

But there it was. Date Night

I turned to my wife and said, "Why do we own Date Night?"

Felicia: Um, you made me buy that.

Me: What? When?

Felicia: At Target. When we went to get your prescription filled.

Me: I don't remember this. 

Felicia: You don't remember going to Target?

Me: I remember going to Target. But I don't remember buying this movie.

Felicia: You insisted we buy this movie. 

Also included in the stack of DVDs were Jaws, The Goonies, an Elmo/Sesame Street thing, Singin' in the RainThe Wolverine, and Moneyball

I should point out now that I once owned a metric shit-ton of DVDs. Before Felicia and I got married, it was my apartment's primary import. I had nine hundred or maybe a few dozen thousand of them. I didn't just buy movies I loved. I bought any movie I thought I would want to watch at some random point in the future. (And usually never got around to doing so.) Eventually, as we started watching more movies online, I decided it was time to get rid of the collection, and I sold most of the movies off. 

We just don't buy physical copies of movies anymore.

Yet there they were. Six new DVDs.

Me: What do you mean, I insisted?
Felicia: Squish and I found you wandering around in the movie section, holding DVDs. You had The Wolverine and Moneyball and that Elmo thing. I couldn't understand why you wanted to buy DVDs, since we usually just buy movies online if we want to watch them. 
Me: Right. 
Felicia: So I said maybe you could put them back and we would just buy them online if you wanted to see them badly enough. 
Me: I've seen Moneyball already. 
Felicia: I know! It doesn't seem like the kind of thing you necessarily need to own. I mean, would you watch it that often? 
Me: No. 
Felicia: So I suggested you put them back, and you did, but then you were kind of grumpy about it, like I was raining on your parade. I asked you if you really wanted them, and you said you were going to watch them upstairs.

At this point I should explain that I'd taken the day off of work to enjoy a blissful retreat in the dentist's chair, and I planned to spend the day on painkillers, asleep in our bed. So it didn't make sense that I would watch movies. We usually watch movies on our Xbox downstairs. 

Felicia: Which I didn't get, because you could just watch them downstairs. How were you going to watch them upstairs? But then you mumbled something about your DVD drive for your laptop, and I realized that you wanted to watch movies in bed while you were recovering. So I said you should just get them, then. 
Me: I really don't remember any of this.
Felicia: What's more is when we got back to the movie section to find those movies, I saw a bunch of movies for five bucks each, and there was a sign that said if you bought three five-dollar movies, you got the fourth one free. So I asked if you wanted any of those. But you said you didn't see anything that caught your eye. 
Me: Huh. 
Felicia: I said, look, here's Inception. Here's Road to Perdition. Here's The Town.
Me: I like those movies.
Felicia: I know! So we just got the original ones you picked up, and then we went to the pharmacy, but you were really out of it. You were walking really slowly. Squish kept calling, "Daddy, come on!" And I had to go really slowly because I was afraid we'd turn a corner and you would just wander off. But we had to hurry! Because the pharmacy people said they closed for lunch at 1:30, and it was 1:25, and you were walking sooooo sloooooowly

But we made it to the pharmacy counter. Never fear. I still didn't know how we ended up with goddamn Date Night, though. 

Felicia: When we got to the register they had a big display with more of the five-dollar movies, so I told you we should look. I said, here's Jaws, and you said okay.
Me: I love Jaws.
Felicia: And The Goonies, you wanted that. I asked about Groundhog Day, but you said you'd seen it too many times. And you got Singin' in the Rain
Me: I do like that movie. I haven't watched it in years. 
Felicia: So with the Elmo thing, that gave us four of the five-buck movies, so we got the one-free deal. But then you saw Date Night and picked it up, and I said, do you actually want to watch that? I don't want to watch that. It seemed really out of character for you, and I couldn't tell if it was really you or the drugs. But you said you really, really wanted to see it. So I asked if we should put one of the other movies back, and you said we should put The Goonies back. 
Me: What?
Felicia: Right? I like that movie, though, so I said no, and asked you again if you really wanted to own Date Night. Like, you could rent that one, right? Do you have to own it? And you were kind of emotional and insistent about it, so I said we would just buy it, that's fine, and that's what we did. 
Me: I can't remember any of this.
Felicia: Do you remember grocery shopping?
Me: When? 
Felicia: The same time. 
Me: No.
Felicia: I asked if there was any kind of food you wanted to eat while you were recovering. You were adamant. Chicken and stars soup. Nothing else, just that. Specifically chicken and stars. 
Me: Wow. You must have been laughing your ass off at me. 
Felicia: I didn't have time to! I was in a hurry, and it was like I had two toddlers with me instead of just one. 

So now we own Date Night

And in the end, we filled the prescription, bought the unnecessary movies, and came home. I apparently set up my laptop and the DVD drive on the beside me, and then Felicia peeked in and asked if I wanted any of the movies. I told her The Wolverine, and she went downstairs to get it. 

When she came back upstairs, I was completely passed out, and I slept for hours. I did eventually wake up and sort of watch The Wolverine, but I barely remember it. And the night that I discovered Date Night, I did give it a fair shake, but twenty minutes in, I'd had enough. 

So if you want a (very gently) used copy of Date Night, you know where to find one. 

Meanwhile, I'm extremely curious to know what kind of stories I could have written while on those drugs. I really want to know if they'd be any weirder than the first Limbs story, because I wrote that one completely clear-headed, and it is absolutely bizarre, man. 

(Oh, and a disclaimer: I probably got 95% of Felicia's words wrong in that rehashed conversation above. I mean, she said all those things, but probably in better words than I managed to dredge up from my tired brain and transcribe here.) 

(Also, this blog post is kind of weirdly formatted. I know. I'm sorry. But it's one a.m., and I'm going to bed now, so let's agree that it's okay that it's weirdly formatted, and we'll all get some sleep and it will look better in the morning.)

On the wall

Scenes from a work in progress