When Home Alone was released in 1990, critics said the movie resonated with kids because they liked the idea of someone their age outsmarting adults. I don’t know, this might have been true for me when I was six, but now when I watch the movie I can’t help admiring how cool and comfortable Kevin McCallister seems with being by himself. He’s eight years old, his parents are in France, having accidentally left him back home in Chicago, and he doesn’t freak out. Of course he thinks that he’s somehow magically made them disappear, but whether he understood that his parents were really just incredibly neglectful or not, he was at peace with his solitude. We can all learn so much about how to enjoy being alone in a home from Home Alone.
1. Eat Junk and Watch Rubbish
The reasons behind the banning or condemnation of certain activities by your parents or society at large are totally understandable. Don’t have unprotected sex, don’t go on a coke bender, don’t rob banks, don’t feed your gremlin after midnight, etc. It totally makes sense not to do these things. Most of us get it. But other activities, relatively innocent activities, are forbidden for reasons that can seem arbitrary and motivated by some baffling, totalitarian need to prevent you from enjoying the simple, inexpensive pleasures in life. So, with no one home to judge or reprimand you, take this opportunity to satisfy your baser desires and harmless curiosities. Be unsophisticated. Check out Showgirls; dip into the post-Adaptation oeuvre of Nic Cage. And while you’re at it, start shoveling that cookie dough ice cream into your mouth. This isn’t a long-term change in your eating or viewing habits. You’ll go back to your veggies and your PG-13 films. But for now, let that melted ice cream drip down your chin. This is your moment. Savor it.
2. Go Through Everyone Else’s Private Stuff
I hope you know that your entire family is going through all of your stuff when you’re not home. They’re probably even throwing mini parties that revolve around rummaging through your dresser drawers, trying on all of your clothes, and doing distasteful impressions of you. So you might as well even the score. Plus, you have to think that on some level they must want you to go through their belongings—if they didn’t, the locks on their storage chests wouldn’t be so easy to pick and their internet passwords wouldn’t be so predictable.
3. Sled Down the Stairs
There’s absolutely no way that this could go wrong.
4. Wash All of Your Major Crevices
Whether you’re trying to be considerate or you’re just afraid that someone will barge in on you and see your nethers, taking a satisfying shower when everyone’s home can be difficult. But now that you’re by yourself, you can finally give all of your major crevices the attention that they deserve. Get a real good lather going. And since there’s no chance of anyone interrupting you, spend a little time on those minor, tertiary, and peripheral crevices too.
5. Avoid the Basement
You aren’t eight years old anymore, but that doesn’t mean that the beastly furnace in your basement has stopped wanting to eat your soul. Being home alone obviously has its perks, but it can also be pretty terrifying. There’s no need to exacerbate things. I know, I know—you’re thinking, But Kevin was able to conquer his fears. I should go down there and do the same thing! Well, Kevin is Jackie Chan to your Jaden Smith. You have not yet reached Kevin’s level of Zen. So until you do, stay out of the basement. Seriously. I love you and don’t want anything to happen to you.
6. Get Some Perspective on Your Family Issues
Use this moment of solitude to really consider the relationship you have with your family. How many of your grievances are legitimate? How many of those grievances are, let’s say, less legitimate, and have to do with things like your fam’s apparent unwillingness to attend to your insatiable appetite for plain cheese pizza? In the words of Kevin’s creepy old neighbor who turned out to be a nice guy (but still was a little weird because he had to have realized that Kevin was home alone and yet, for some reason, never called the cops): “Deep down you always love ’em, but you can forget that you love ’em. And you can hurt them and they can hurt you.” Maybe this time by yourself will help you appreciate your family more. Or hell, maybe they really are jerks. But I think it’s always going to be beneficial and probably even cathartic to step back and quietly examine your situation.
The one area where Kevin and I differ is on home security. It is your home and you should defend it, but the best way to do that, especially when you’re alone, isn’t by setting up booby traps. Lock all of the doors and call the cops if you hear or see anything threatening or suspicious. And maybe buy a sword. Swords are good. ♦