On the menu at a bar we were at last night, in between the martinis and the daiquiris, was the Five Dollar Shake. The ingredients include American bourbon, amaretto something, vanilla ice cream and popcorn. I had just had a Napa Sling that I had not been very enthusiastic about, partly because the cherry that they had put in hadn’t looked glossy but more like a tired cousin of the cherry we like to see on our milkshakes. I looked at my Nike Fuelband and noted that not only had I hit my goal of 4500 Nike Fuel, I was now at 5800 Nike Fuel and I thought, why not…I can afford the calories today.
So I ordered the five dollar shake and it hit every nerve just as I had imagined it would. (You can try the Five Dollar Shake for nearly 20 dollars at MASH in Charlottenlund in Denmark.)
If you are of the generation that went through a phase where Wham! was cool you have seen Pulp Fiction and you know all about that Five Dollar Shake. And you have tried the dance moves – all you have to do is run your fingers catlike alongside your eyes and we know what you’re talking about. That gorgeous dance where John Travolta shows that he’s still got it in spades right before Uma Thurman starts to foam in her mouth and gets an adrenaline shot into her heart. It’s all well that ends well.
Pulp Fiction was the first movie I saw when I moved to the States nearly 18 years ago. I was twenty years old and I went to my first American movie theater, bought buttered popcorn (fuck the calories, I miss that popcorn) and a medium Coke and was completely blown away. I grew up in India, watching Bollywood movies but mixed in was some Hollywood cinema. I watched Pretty Woman when it came out on a bootlegged video tape and my father who loved Westerns had introduced my sister and I to the Man With No Name and even though he cringed that we were going to watch “sex” stuff he steeled himself to allow my sister and I to fall in love with Richard Gere in an Officer and a Gentleman.
But it was Pulp Fiction that was seminal. I had just come to America and the movie made me realize that I wasn’t in Kansas (read as Hyderabad) anymore. It helped me identify America and define what I thought of the country – not that big men like Marcel Wallace could get raped in a sex dungeon but that they had the freedom to tell stories like this one and have people watch it and love it.
This told me that in America, you could be different and it would be okay because everyone was different. You didn’t have to fit in – you could ride into the sunset on Zed’s motorcycle because “Zed’s dead, baby, Zed’s dead.”