Old Movies, New Roles

Last week, I was idly looking for useful things to do when I opened the cupboard doors in my TV stand to see what I could clear out. (I’m experiencing a combination of Covid isolation and a late-life decluttering urge.) Inside the TV stand were some DVD’s that had been out of sight and out of mind for many years.

Four of them were potentially useful. They contained yoga and exercise programs that I might use one day when I run out of cupboard doors to open. Maybe.

Two of them were of classic movies that I thought might interest my eldest son. He elected to take 12 Angry Men and I threw in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning as a bonus. After all, it is a classic that everyone should see. Well, in all honesty, I wanted him to have a sense of where I came from. So now he’s stuck with it. He can get a taste of London life in the early 1960s via Albert Finney and Shirley Ann Field whether he likes it or not.

Remaining were five Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies in a boxed set, and two Peter Sellers movies from the same era: I’m All Right, Jack and Heavens Above. I thought someone, somewhere might want the Astaire and Rogers movies, but I had my doubts about interest in Peter Sellers. After all, I have travelled to various parts of the world since I lived in London, and I know enough to know that humour doesn’t travel well. Everyone likes to laugh, but they don’t all laugh about the same things. Also, humour doesn’t withstand the tests of time. What was funny once, isn’t funny now. Dance, though, seems to be timeless, so I thought I’d put the Peter Sellers films in a package lot with the Astaire and Rogers films and see if I could find a taker.

I went to the NextDoor app to use their local category for selling and giving away miscellany. Right away I discovered that someone else was trying to find new homes for DVDs. She had loads of them! I can’t remember how many, but it was a lot and she had listed the whole package for $25. So, clearly, DVDs are not in high demand.

Hmm, I thought. Apparently no-one is going to want to pay any money for my DVDs of old movies. So, I went to the Free section and listed them there. Someone would pounce on the opportunity to get seven great films for free, right?

After a week, I had not had a single response. None. I was just about to withdraw the listing when, lo and behold, I got a message. Someone wanted to know where I lived. She said that she was interested in the DVDs if I didn’t live too far from her. She explained that her husband had experienced a stroke and they didn’t have a car.  I replied with my address.

The next day she contacted me a second time and asked again for my address and explained one more time that they didn’t have a car. Actually, she said, their car had been broken into several times and it was no longer usable. Also, she was looking for their cat which had disappeared.

This was one of those moments when you realize that no matter had bad life may get, someone else’s life is much, much worse. I gave her my address again and said that if it was too far, I could come to her. She thanked me and told me where she and her husband live.

This morning I walked my old DVDs to the house of a woman whose husband has had a stroke, whose car does not work, and whose cat is missing. I wish I could have done more, but perhaps Astaire, Rogers, and Sellers will do it for me.


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