The Gift of Dynamite

 It gets me every time.

I don't know exactly why.


Maybe it's the way he's so earnest and concentrated.

Maybe it's because it is such a bizarre and true act of friendship.

Maybe it's because it's such a statement.


Every time.

He dances, I cry.

I have seen the movie several times. I own it. The first time I watched it, I was taken completely by surprise. I knew the dance scene was coming, could feel it all heading that way. I expected to laugh. But no. The tears sprung up and I made some sort of chiffon excuse to leave the room and collect myself. Now when I watch it, I know it's coming. I know the whole thing by heart. And still, I cry.


Maybe it's because he is so buoyant throughout the movie.

Maybe it's because I know that some of the most interesting people aren't always the most popular.

Maybe it's the triumph of something genuine, if strange, over the false hierarchy of high school.

Maybe it's because I admire the strength it takes to just be your own weird self.


I don't really identify with him personally. His plight was not mine in any sort of obvious way. Mine are not the cringing tears of all too familiar recognition. I know the movie is supposed to be funny, and it is. But usually the things we find the funniest, hit the closest to home. My home would have been across town from his. I would have been the girl who is embarrassed by her friends' meanness yet too afraid to stand up for him. So I cry.


Maybe it's because sometimes the least appreciated people are the strongest because they endure.

Maybe it's because it's so self conscious and raw.

Maybe they're tears of joy, though.

Maybe I'm so glad to see someone finally stand up and dance.


Every time.

He dances, I cry.


Napoleon Dynamite.



This was written for Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop. Check out her blog & all the fun stuff she has going on. This is a response to one of this week's writing prompts: 'What is it about that movie that makes you cry every time?'

Originally published on Periphery.


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