16 Candles


Okay.. I love this movie! What can I say?! I was minding my own business, just flipping through the million or so channels on cable looking for something to watch til the Green Bay Play Off Game starts. And there it was. And it was literally just starting. (Like that EVER happens on cable.)

The main character, Sam is having her 16th birthday. Her sister is about to get married so the family is in an uproar. Two sets of grandparents descend. One set takes over her bedroom and brings along a foreign exchange student. The other set is intrigued with the fact that she just grew boobs, not to mention that grandma cops a free feel. Of course the whole family has forgotten her birthday altogether. But the most critical thing in her world is the crush she has on “Jake”. The high school dream guy. Who is of course dating the Prom Queen. My favorite character though, has to be the nerd. He is hysterical.

It’s high school and ‘crushes’ abound. Everyone has a crush on someone they believe is out of reach. Do you remember your first crush? (or the one you had last week for that matter?) How absolutely gorgeous they were? How invisible you felt?
Back in the day it was Tommy Mueller. OMG… a total hunk. The hockey player that lived down the street. He was a senior. I was well… the new girl in town and a sophomore. My girlfriend and I talked about him every second of every day. We had him so high up on a pedestal that he needed an oxygen mask to breathe. We were both Library Aides and members of the school Pep Club. We had freedoms that most other students didn’t have. We could roam freely about the school under the guise of running errands for the Librarian.

We of course took full advantage of this status to (okay I’ll say it) “Stalk” Tommy Mueller. We knew every class he had, we knew when his lunch was scheduled, we knew where he parked in the parking lot. We just could never find out if he had a girlfriend. We sucked as private eyes. But we had a lot of fun crushing on Tommy Mueller.

My girlfriend and I were also in band and we had to play in the Pep Band at the hockey games. It was another totally legitimate way to see Tommy in action on the rink. That’s where our “Crush” became crushing. Reality has a way of crashing in the walls and knocking the pedestal over.

It was during the second period of the game. All eyes were back and forth across the rink like baby kittens following a laser light. Tommy was amazing, as always. But then something strange happened. The lights started to flicker, like an electrical glitch of some sort. Then when the period ended, the coach called Tommy over to the bench. We watched as he hurried to the back hallways of the arena. He didn’t come back for the third period.

It wasn’t until the next morning that we learned that Tommy’s dad had a heart attack during the game. And the electrical glitch, was when they were using the defibrillator to attempt to revive him. Tommy’s dad passed away.

In the movie, Sam’s Dad throws out a bit of wisdom for his daughter who is crushing on her own hunk. He said that if crushes were easy, they’d be called something else. How true.

My girlfriend and I were on the phone crying for Tommy. The Hockey Hunk that didn’t even know that two sophomore girls were so upset on his behalf. It wasn’t long until we realized that reality is a lot tougher than a fantasy crush. The last thing Tommy needed right now was us. Oogling him from afar.

By the next school year, my girlfriend and I were trying on real relationships with boys. We had learned that the impressions we had from crushing, oogling and yes, even stalking; weren’t even close to really getting to know another person. It was the same thing Sam learned in the movie. By the end, she got her guy and in the final scene they’re sharing their first kiss over the 16 candles of her birthday cake.


11 thoughts on “16 Candles

  1. Great personal story, Jeannie, and very true πŸ˜‰ I have never seen the movie. Thanks for telling me about it, now i dont have to lol
    Take care my friend
    Thys xx

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