This week marked the loss of my literary inspiration Nora Ephron. For the first time since Heath Ledger, the love of my cinematic fantasies, died, I cried and more than I expected. Nora was my go-to Wellesley gal; the one who inspired and informed my desire to write, to blog, and to report. She, unlike any other journalist turned rom-com screenwriter, mastered the art of humor and used it to enlighten.
She certainly enlightened me, as the following entry, which I have revived from the depths of my blogosphere, explains. Before I knew the difference between a Democrat and Republican, I learned how to fake an orgasm in a crowded New York delicatessen. And all thanks to Ms. Ephron, who so cleverly incorporated it into her 1989 classic, When Harry Met Harry:
As the first and only child, I have been subject to many parenting experiments. For example, as a three year old I watched a psychological thriller involving an abusive parent who pushes his children down the stairs. As an imaginative child, I thought said behavior was simply entertainment.
When entering my nursery class, I proceeded to inform my teachers that “Mommy pushed me down a staircase.” Within hours child services had been called and my mother was forced to explain to the principal that she had mistakenly let her pre-school aged daughter watch a film containing a scene of parental abuse.
I, in my toddler-esque ways, had misinterpreted the film and mistakenly reappropriated it to be my own personal narrative. But as my mother argued, I was all smiles and no bruises. Or, as my father says in my infamous baby videos, I was very much a “wanted child.”
Now one would imagine that after that failed cinematic attempt my parents would refrain from viewing PG-13 and R-rated films for awhile. However, at age seven I was again subject to another film well beyond my years: When Harry Met Sally (1989). An adorable little rom-com, there are inescapable sexual overtones– ones that even at age twenty-one still make me blush.
One scene, in particular though, generated quite a hullabaloo for my parents. In explaining women’s desire to sexually satisfy their partners, Sally, Meg Ryan’s character, fakes an orgasm in the middle of a bustling New York diner.
Now as a second grader I did not comprehend the reasoning for these noises, but I did remember the last sentence of the scene, uttered by a female witness to Sally’s refrain– “I’ll have what she’s having.” I, too, wanted to inspire my fellow diners to make smart foodie selections.
And so upon entering a diner resembling the one in the original film, I began to make some very odd noises. Attempting to mimic Sally, I was subject to perplexed gazes. My grandmother, witness to my antics, asked what had prompted this behavior– before demanding I cease and desist. My answer, “Nora Ephron.”
However, before I was silenced I turned to a woman at a nearby table and said, “Don’t you want to order what I want?” Her response, “Honey, of course.”
I then distinctly remember her ordering a latte. And while I was not a coffee drinker from birth (unfortunately!), I’d like to think that even at age seven I was inspiring caffeine-deprived individuals to add a few stimulants to their diet.