Reading peyups articles has this mystic consequence of suddenly taking you to some remote valley of human emotion. I was busy with this funny collection of college–related nuggets of information, as well as this painfully beautiful love article and this excellent review of Charlie Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; and by the end of the afternoon I was looking at this famous exchange from the movie As Good As It Gets.
Carol (Helen Hunt): Come on in, and try not to ruin everything by being you.
Melvin (Jack Nicholson): I’ve got a really great compliment for you, and its true.
Carol: I’m so afraid you’re about to say something awful.
Melvin: Don’t be pessimistic, it’s not your style. Anyway, here goes: I’ve got this, what, ailment. Now, my doctor, this shrink I used to go to all the time, says that in fifty to sixty percent of cases, a pill really helps. I HATE pills, hate them. I’m using the word “hate” about pills. Anyway, my compliment to you is the night after you came over and said that you would never . . . well, you were there, you know what you said. Anyway, the very next morning, I started taking the pills.
Carol: I don’t quite get how that’s a compliment for me.
Melvin: You make me want to be a better man.
Carol: That’s maybe the best compliment of my life.
Melvin: Well maybe I overshot a little, because I was aiming at just enough to keep you from walking out.
“You make me want to be a better man.”
Nice, ain’t it? Some afternoons just have this magic of turning itself into poignant spans of seemingly eternal minutes and hours.