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Throw Away Words, Marketing Claims, Steve Martin

We use words so repeatedly, in marketing, they lose their meaning.

The word unique is worthless because it’s been overused. New and improved… what does that mean? It can mean the label was changed on the package, not that significant improvement has been made to the product itself.

This reminds me of one of my favorite scenes, from one of my favorite movies, the 1987 film, Roxanne by Steve Martin.

Movie Trailer

The plot (per IMDB): “Based on the play “Cyrano de Bergerac“, large-nosed C.D. Bales (played by Steve Martin) falls for the beautiful Roxanne (Daryl Hannah) while she falls for his personality but another man’s looks.”

In this scene the character C.D. is expressing his love for Roxanne, but faces the challenge of coming up with the right words, because all of the superlatives have been used up and “wasted on shampoo commercials and the ads and the flavorings.”

The very first part is where C.D. expresses his conundrum at the loss of the meaningful words… and the rest, is just romantic. Enjoy!

Outside Her Window
Scene from Roxanne,
By Steve MartinIn this scene CHRIS (Rick Rossovich), who has the hots for ROXANNE, but lacks the words to tell her, is helped in wooing ROXANNE by eloquent C.D. (Steve Martin).

C.D. is secretly in love with ROXANNE but because of his appearance (his large nose) feels he’d be rejected. CHRIS and C.D. are standing outside of ROXANNE’S house speaking to her above in her second story window

In shadow, half-hidden by a tree branch, C.D. speaks up to ROXANNE. His voice is conveniently distorted by the breeze.

You may also enjoy listening to the clip of this dialog.
(The dialog below picks up around the 120-second mark)

C.D.
…Words! They’re all used up. They’re hard to say. They’ve all been wasted on shampoo commercials and the ads and the flavorings. All those beautiful words. I mean, how can you love a floor wax? How can you love a diaper? How can I use the same words about you that someone else uses about a stuffing? I’m exploding with love for you and I can’t use the word.

ROXANNE
I can’t hear you.

C.D.
It’s because my words have to rise up and they’re having trouble finding you.

ROXANNE
You’re not having trouble hearing me.

C.D.
Your voice floats down. But be careful. One hard word from you at that height kills me.

ROXANNE
Your voice sounds different.

C.D.
Of course it’s different! I don’t have to be careful anymore. I’m protected by the night. I can be myself, Roxanne. Oh…God, your name is a knife.

ROXANNE
Stand where I can see you.

C.D.
My voice. Only my voice. You don’t need to see me. Just listen to me. I know I only have a minute here to talk to you. I was just wondering if what I wrote to you touched you…

ROXANNE
It did. It was eloquent.

C.D.
Oh no, not eloquent. Just honest. You see, I am in orbit around you. I’m suspended weightless over you like the blue man in the Chagall, just hovering, hanging over you in a delirious kiss.

Yesterday, on the street, I swore I heard your name. I swore I heard someone say it. And I turned and there was nobody there, just five birds, rising off the ground. And when their wings hit the air, I heard your name again. And just for that second, I was one of them, pounding out your name. Roxanne. Roxanne. The word of two syllables, locked inside my head.

You see, I am, and I will always be, the one who loved you without limits.

CHRIS
What are you talking about? It’s too much!

ROXANNE
Go on…

CHRIS
It’s working. Go on. Go on.

C.D.
This is my whole life right now, standing here, talking to you like this, saying things I’ve wanted to say but couldn’t.

ROXANNE
Why couldn’t you talk to me?

C.D.
Because I was afraid of having you laugh at me.

ROXANNE
That’s so silly.

C.D.
No. No. No. Not if you knew. When you’re reaching for a star, there’s a long way to fall.

I almost never let this moment happen. And now I feel sorry for people for whom it never comes.

I love you, I have breathed you in, and I am suffocating, I am crazy! I can’t go on; this is all too much!

ROXANNE
I’m starting to feel a little dizzy.

C.D.
And I’m starting to feel a little drunk. Because I have made you tremble. And you are trembling, aren’t you?

ROXANNE
Like a leaf on a tree.

CHRIS (shouting)
I want to make love to you!

C.D.
Shut up, Chris!

ROXANNE
What?

C.D.
I’m telling myself to shut up; because this time I’ve gone too far.

ROXANNE
I’ll tell you when you’ve gone too far.

CHRIS
She wants us. Lookit CD, it’s okay. Sooner or later. You can do it. Come on. Come on.

C.D. realizes he’s right.

C.D.
Roxanne. Don’t think I don’t know you. Don’t think I haven’t felt you beneath me. I know you’ve imagined it. You have, haven’t you, lying back in your bed with me?

ROXANNE
I have.

C.D.
There will never be another tonight, Roxanne. Why should we sip from a teacup when we can drink from the river?

There is a tiny word. It’s not a noun. It’s not a verb. It’s not an adjective. I don’t know what it is. But if you said it to me tonight, all this blackness would go away, and you and I would be connected by a tunnel of light.

ROXANNE
What is the word, Chris?

C.D.
Yes. Yes, Roxanne. Yes.

ROXANNE
Yes. Yes, Chris.

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