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Pearl Harbor

If you’re lucky enough to have a close group of friends who you’ve known for a while, as I am, each member of that group has probably done something the rest of you playfully tease them about from time to time.  For me, that something pertains to the movie Pearl Harbor.

One night during the summer after freshman year of college, in May 2001, we decided to go see Pearl Harbor. At that point Ben Affleck was emerging as one of Hollywood’s leading men, Kate Beckinsale was starting to reach “It Girl” status and Josh Hartnett, well, he was still pretty much just Josh Hartnett. The movie was a typical historical fiction slash action film slash love story, with none of those elements done particularly well. But for whatever reason, I really enjoyed the movie.

For the most part we all had similar taste in movies and we’d always recap afterwards in the parking lot. “Pretty good, right?” or “That SUCKED.” So when we filed out of the tiny theater and walked to the car after Pearl Harbor, I was really pumped to talk about the movie. But no one was really saying anything. I decided to break the silence with the following statement: “I think that was the best movie I’ve ever seen.”

A bold statement, I know. We had all seen a ton of movies by then, making our parents round us all up and drive 20 minutes to “the good theater,” and later driving ourselves when we all started to get our licenses. If not at the theater, we were wearing out our cheaply laminated Blockbuster cards. Surely, many movies I saw during that period were better than Pearl Harbor. But I let the excitement of being back home for the summer and hanging out with my friends influence my review of what was just an OK movie. Rookie mistake.

Years later, my friends still give me crap about Pearl Harbor. At first it bothered me—my credibility among my pre-Facebook social network was shot!—but later I started to play along. If a friend asked me about a movie I’d seen, I might say, “Let’s just say it was no Pearl Harbor.” My friend Nikki and I would even apply the term Pearl Harbor, often shortening it to PH, to non-movie reviews. For example, if I was going on a date, I’d text Nikki afterwards if it went well: “she was the PH of girls.”

I’m only starting to live down the infamous PH incident now, ten years later. But it taught me an important lesson. Just because I happened to be on a hot streak one night at a poker table in Atlantic Citydoesn’t mean that the Trump Taj Mahal is definitively the best casino I’ve ever been to. And just because I happened to get a pretty girl’s number at bar once doesn’t mean it’s the best bar I’ve ever been to. It also doesn’t mean that I should quit rooting for the Yankees just because they lost 12-1 in the opening game of the 1996 World Series, where I was in attendance, sitting in a Row Y seat that cost $100.

On this site I’ll often share stories and express opinions. For the purposes of making those stories and opinions valuable to others, I’ll do my best to find the proper “PH balance,” mixing my personal perspective with a fair and accurate view of each of my customer experiences.

(Oh, I almost forgot. There’s one exception to the PH Rule: if you want to go ahead and tell everyone that this is the best blog you’ve ever read, that’s totally fine.)

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