Sometimes a Punch in the Jugular Is the Best Medicine

28 Mar

I swore at some little kids the other night.

I don’t know how little they were, per se.  They were littler than me.  Adolescents, I suppose, is the technical term.   All I know is they were scrappy, yippy things and offended almost all of my sensory organs and so I dub them little kids.  Rascals.  Hellions.  Forged of muck, mire, and obscenities.

Granted, I’d willingly ventured into their pit of idiocy when I made my way out to the midnight showing of The Hunger Games.

Don’t judge me unless you’ve read the books.  Seriously, just don’t even start.  I’ll brawl.  Don’t think I won’t.

Anyway, I took the plunge into the hysteria about a week ago and openly admitted it in last Wednesday’s post.  My entire life was consumed with angst and every moment of exertion became just another thing I had to do before I could read again.   Since this led to devouring all three books in just a few days, I figured why not go ahead  see the movie.   I wouldn’t let Dave see it before he’s read the books and since I took the following day off work, I bought what I’m sure was the last ticket for the midnight showing in a 30-mile radius and ventured out into the wilderness of excited adolescents.   Alone.

I don’t really know why I go to the movies anymore.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I truly enjoyed it.   I suppose there’s that time I took myself on a date for a Lollipop Tuesday last year, but it’s important to note that in that scenario, I was the only one in the entire theater.  Maybe that’s key: I absolutely cannot have any other humans around me.  When I do have humans around me, I contemplate murder.

I think it’s safe to say that out of my myriad of pet peeves in this world, the one I hold near and dear to my heart is being rude during movies.   I don’t really know who the target audience is for those commercials that happen before the previews in the movie theater.  You know, the ones that feature some audience member being rude and ridiculous?  There’s the one of Steve Martin’s cell phone vibrating him off the seat.  There’s the one where people are watching The Notebook but all the dialogue is replaced with a story about puke, courtesy of the people having a conversation beside you.  I thought the target audience was the people who do those things, but those people still exist so I don’t know if it’s an effective campaign.  Oh, and there’s the one of the Lorax that played the evening I was trying to watch the Hunger Games, but unfortunately my offenders entered too late to notice it.  Maybe that’s the problem: rude people enter too late to see them.

To my surprise, I had secured a seat in front of an exit row, with plenty of leg room.  I had a big blank section to my left where no seats were installed in the event that wheelchairs were needed there, and had only one seat to my right, which no one had ventured to sit in, despite the fact that I had bathed that morning.  For the first time in a long while, I thought I might actually enjoy being at the movies – and one of the most anticipated movies in a very long time, even! A midnight showing! The luck!!

That’s when the gaggle appeared.

Just before the previews, when the lights were beginning to dim and the audience was settling into silence, a squadron of chirping adolescents piled up at the entrance to the theater.  Realizing that they were complete morons to have gone to the concession stand before scoping out seats, they found themselves unable to acquire fifteen seats all together and refused to watch this much-anticipated theatrical event in separation.  As they tried to balance their 6 dollar sodas and popcorns, they looked to the leader for orders.  That’s when she marched right over to the open (and chair-less) section to my left, and plopped down cross-legged on the floor.  Her minions followed suit, stacking into two rows in which they rested on each others’ limbs, greased with popcorn butter and reeking of trouble.

I almost immediately went to management.  Are you serious?! I went from having an almost guaranteed enjoyable evening to being the only person in the theater that has to directly deal with this group of doofuses.  I don’t even enjoy the movies when there’s only one seat beside me and now I’ve exchanged that one seat for 7.5 humans sitting on 7.5 other humans.  It was obvious to me that halfway through the movie they would get sore or tired of laying on each other and need to shift around.  Not to mention the chomping and slurping and chatting.  Oh, the chatting.  

But I told myself that it would be a great memory for them.  They could look back and reminisce about the midnight showing of the Hunger Games, when they broke all the rules and sat directly on the floor.   Stop being a bitter old hag, Jackie.  You’re only in your twenties.  Save the stifling of a younger generation for your thirties.

So I let them go.  

Five minutes in, my left ear had already been accosted by some of the worst obscenities in my vocabulary.  They were weighing in on what the movie was presenting versus what they imagined in the books, they were upset that Effie didn’t seem like they thought she would, and a variety of female characters had been likened to a slang term for a female’s genitalia.

I began to get upset.

I thought about the time I saw Alice in Wonderland in 3D and got so enraged at the girls who weren’t even making an attempt to use their inside voices in the front row that I walked over, crouched down behind their seats, and spat out that since they talked all the way through the movie, they could at least do me the favor of attempting a whisper for the rest.  I thought about the time I saw the silent film The Artist and a 60-year-old lady behind Dave and I read all the captions out loud.  (I still have scar marks from him taking out his tension by squeezing my leg instead of crushing her face.)  But above all, I thought about how they were seated where there weren’t even seats and by all counts should have already been ousted by an usher except by my good graces and my convincing myself not to be an old coot. And yet they sat there, carrying on.  

It was when Katniss finally got launched up the tube to the battlefield that I realized I could endure them no longer: something had to be done.  I didn’t devour all three books in the series and pull myself out into the wilderness of a midnight showing to have them banter and giggle through the most intense part of the movie.  No sir.  And honestly, I wasn’t sure that watching a movie focusing on taking the lives of adolescents was the best stimulus for me in my situation.

So I leaned over and abandoned my inside voice, saying  – Hey, do you think you guys could shut up for the rest of the movie? Seriously.  Thanks.

But there’s this amazing pretend shield that stupid kids think exists between you and their mockery of you.  The girl directly below me to my left was under such a delusion when she blatantly mimicked me to her friends.  There was some head bobbing, some finger wagging, and an exact replica of the tone I took with them.  

That’s when I called her a dick.

I did.  I just dropped all pretenses of good Christian behavior and called her a dick.  In fact, I called them all dicks and told them to shut the hell up.  Because if they didn’t, I was going to have an usher scrape them off the floor and shoo them to their lonely little islands – seats beside old people, fat people, ugly people, gruff people, and maybe even in the middle of rows.  They’d have to navigate it all in the dark by themselves.  And everyone would stare.  And call them dicks again.

They didn’t talk for the rest of the movie.

I darted out of there the moment it was over, annoyed that I’d ventured out into society again.  I thought about how they’d all pile into their mothers’ cars and talk about the old lady that nagged them and called them names.  They’d leave out the part where they were using worse language than me even though they’re half my age.  They’d leave out the part where I already told them to zip it before I unleashed the Richard on them.  They’d leave out the part where they encompass everything The Lorax tried to prevent in the previews.

I burned with a fiery rage, kicking myself for paying 10 dollars to see something I could have rented on Netflix in a few months and watched in the comfort of my own home, where I’m safe from society and all the ways it makes me want to cuss and commit crimes.  I’ve told myself so many times that I’m done going out to the movies for this very reason.  I just haven’t come up with a good system yet where every time I’m tempted to go see something on the big screen, I have the better sense to punch myself in the face instead.

Maybe I should just start a service where for a free movie ticket, I will sit on a stool near the exit of the theater and if my ears or eyes are offended by the presence of anyone in particular, I walk up and deliver one solid slam in the jugular.  I get a free movie, people get a better theatrical experience, and audiences begin to be respectful out of fear.

Sounds more effective than the Lorax campaign to me. 

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35 Responses to “Sometimes a Punch in the Jugular Is the Best Medicine”

  1. Taylor March 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    I applaud you.


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

      I’m surprised to have gotten so much support on this one. Not even one comment being all “hey, don’t you think you could have shown some maturity?”

      I think the rude viewer/ignorant teen combo inspires universal rage.


  2. lys810 March 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Stifle that younger generation, Jackie! STIFLE IT!!! They need it, it’s for their own good!


  3. kaylabug311 March 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    Nice move! I understand your pain because I’ve had to bear through similar situations. Next time I will follow your example and speak out instead of just complaining to myself the entire time. But, seriously, if you’re going to chat and giggle with your friends through the entire movie, why even bother paying the $10 to see it?


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

      Right?! I can’t believe that not even one of the girls told the others to shut it so she could stare at Peeta in silence. The whole thing escapes me really.


  4. Ernesto Vazquez-Belen March 29, 2012 at 1:48 am #

    Oh I feel for you there, Jackie. It’s one of the reasons people aren’t going to movie theaters as much anymore.

    Roger Ebert had a blog post about this recently (it’s number 3 in this post):

    I used to work in a movie theater, kicked people out (by people I do mean teenagers). Worked at Borders for five years, including as a Supervisor and Manager. Kicked teenagers out. Had teenagers that picked up toys and hit the books with them (I’ll give that one kid for giving the proper headbow of shame when I took the toy away and asked him to leave for the rest of the day).

    Home. You can watch in peace. Drink tea.

    Oh. And your date will completely understand what’s going on when you do the arm over shoulder thing.

    So, in summary: watching at home gives you peace, cheaper concession prices (as well as the ability to be provided with organic and gourmet choices, if you so desire), and an easier place to try and make out.

    Movies: 0
    Home: 10 (sorry Movies, making out’s topping the scale here…I think it shares a currency conversion rate equivalent to a Golden Ticket…someone find Charlie to double check…).


    • Ernesto Vazquez-Belen March 29, 2012 at 1:49 am #

      *I’ll give that kid props


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

      Thanks for the Ebert post – very true and I loved it. And quite a convincing argument for the home watching as well. Kudos to you for enduring a job at the movie theater. Every time I look at the flood of trash and half eaten food on the floor after a movie ends, my heart aches for humanity. I think it’s so sad that people don’t even have the decency to *try* to clean up after themselves.


  5. mistressofpoetry March 29, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    Heeeeeey I’d hire your service in a heartbeat.

    Luckily, I usually wait so far into the showing of the movie from its release that I don’t have to endure such rudeness, because, in fact, there are so few people in the theater at all. Best time for a theater experience if you can hang in there and wait out the crowds. 🙂 Applaud you for your boldness, as I’m sure everyone else in the theater did as well, if only on the inside.


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

      Yes! Another supporter of my startup 🙂 Hey, maybe the trick here is waiting until the end of the hype. I typically do that and wait til it comes to Netflix to save money… the only ones I go out to see in the theater are the ones I can’t pace myself for. I tried to hold out on the Hunger Games, but I freaked out and bought a ticket on a whim, thinking about how much I’d obsess over it if I didn’t just go see it. Stupid, stupid, stupid.


  6. forarainyday March 29, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    You’re my hero Jackie! And you might need to have a talk with my husband. He moved the Netflix que around. Now there is another movie in front of The Running Man. But I swear, it will be watched!

    And what did you think of the movie compared to the books? All of my favorite lines were missing!


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

      First of all – you have a BLOG!? I don’t think I knew this. Did I know this? I’m shocked so I’m gonna go with no.

      Tell the husband you have a deal to uphold, darnit. You MUST watch Arnie in Spandex. It’s really a must-see. 😉

      Ugh to the movie. I mean, I’m glad it exists and I’m glad they cast Jennifer Lawrence, but overall I think they failed to capture the complexity of the situation, they miscast a lot of the roles, they focused on things that didn’t matter as much as the things they *didn’t* focus on… there were lots of things that I thought were missed. Also, Katniss would *never* shoot a deer and drag it in on the day of the Reaping. Seriously? Makes her look like a stupid girl from the start when Gale scolds her.


  7. thesinglecell March 29, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Kids just suck. They just do. I worry that my nephews will one day be adolescents and start sucking. Eh? You just worried about it with yours too, didn’t you? It’s true. But it’s a shame that the great American pastime of whiling away a couple hours in the dark with overwhelming sound and a huge screen has been ruined. I know that going to the movies alone has come in baby steps for you, but here’s another tip for another Lollipop Tuesday (which may have to be a Sunday or something) – go to an afternoon show. No kids then. The Adolescent Coolness Factor ratchets up the later the showing is. Godspeed, Jackie. Rent “The Hunger Games” on Netflix anyway so you can experience it in the cocoon of your own carefully-created happy place. You’ve earned it!


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      Ugh, I worry about this all the time. I don’t want to have sucky kids. I won’t let them suck. I won’t. And hey – The Artist was an afternoon show and instead of crappy kids I got a chatty old woman. It’s like a game of “choose your rage”.


  8. Ro March 29, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    Yes yes yes yes yeeeeeessssssss! It gives me such satisfaction that you called them out on being the buttheads that they are. When presented with a similar situation I usually don’t have the nerve to say anything at all, then I bitch and moan the whole ride home about how awful the chatters were. Or worse, maybe, is when I do finally say something after bottling in such an intense amount of anger that all general use of the English language escapes me and I’m lucky to mumble “SHUT UP.” “Shut up” doesn’t do squat. And then I get even more angry that I lost any cleverness I may posses because I was seriously that mad. So you know what? Call them dicks. Threaten them with isolation and the glare of a bitter and underpaid usher who, likely, “doesn’t get paid enough for this kind of bullshit.” I join the masses who applaud you. AWESOME. Well done.


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

      LOL Ro I love your support. Maybe you can be on my crew of movie theater watchdogs.


  9. pegoleg March 29, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Commencing the slow clap. You’ve got balls, Jackie, and not many women can say that.

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

      ahaha slow clap. I didn’t really prefer the movie. I thought it could have been done much better and better captured the complicated narrative in Katniss’s head throughout the book. It really fails to show how brilliant of a hunter and thinker she is. It also fails to capture the complicated relationships. And some of the casting makes me sad. But hey: they tried. And I have to give them kudos for casting Jennifer Lawrence instead of some twit.


  10. Lori L March 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    I would have liked to engage your services for MY viewing of the Hunger Games. In efforts to avoid something like your experience I went to it on Sunday at 3:40pm. No luck. While the theater wasn’t completely full, it was still full enough for some snot nosed little tweenager to sit behind me and kick and push on my seat, slurp soda and EAT ICE. Seriously! Was she raised in a barn?!? Finally my husband had the courtesy to turn right around and give her a good over 30 yr old glare. Her adult companion must have noticed because she finally said something to the turd. This being said….I would have paid you to swear at her and embarass her. It would have been so worth it.


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

      WOOT for the husband! And wow – she had a handler and still wasn’t made to act respectfully? So disheartening. But hey, at least I can take comfort in knowing you’d be a supporter of my new startup!


  11. Samantha March 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    I am amazed and applaud you. That is awesome. And they deserved it, no doubt. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t that shitty as a teenager. Again, why pay the $10 if you’re not going to watch a movie?


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

      Right? I wondered how it was that people so obsessed with the series as to get a group of friends together to catch the midnight showing and sit on the floor instead of sitting in seats would talk all the way through it and negate the importance of the event. Entirely beyond me.


  12. lexy3587 March 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    I’m impressed… and super glad you told them off. I dislike people talking in theaters almost as much as I dislike people trying to carry on a conversation with me when in a public washroom stall, peeing.


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

      I hate it when people talk to me when I’m in the bathroom. It’s the only place in the world that I still feel like we can be alone and uninterrupted and it drives me to insanity when I’m violated. VIOLATED.


  13. mctell2 March 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Critics always sit in a aisle seat…always.


    • Jackie April 1, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

      Ah, perhaps this will increase my odds of enjoying the movie. Or just my escape. Either way I’m better off.


  14. stumblestar April 4, 2012 at 7:12 am #

    I think I’m going to stand up for the younger generation here…
    but to be honest not all of us are like that but i agree that they are usually that bunch of chavs who disturb the movie, and i am grateful to people who shut them up!! Because i, personally, wouldn’t go near them with a barge pole!! Anyway loved your blog 🙂


    • Jackie April 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

      chav? barge pole?!

      how delightful. thanks for the vocab lesson! and for stopping by. 😉


  15. thethirtyyearoldme April 4, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    My parents in their old age have stopped whispering in movies. They just don’t care anymore – or can’t hear. It’s one of the two. I could use you to give them a stern warning. After all, I don’t want to hurt their feelings!


    • Jackie April 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      haha yes, tell them they should read this blog post because you found it amusing and hope they get the hint. it’s my hope that this post will change the world in such a fashion.


  16. sophiereader April 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Lol… good for you!!!!! I bet they won’t do that again!!!!! You deserve applauding!!! 🙂 I hate annoying teens that try and enter your personal space in a supposedly quiet cinema!!! It happened before and it won’t again- it was a popcorn disaster too!!! 🙂

    Well done!!!! 🙂


    • Jackie April 4, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

      haha I’m pretty sure they *will* do it again. I’ll just have the good sense to stay home 😉


  17. jeremysrandomadventures April 4, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    Really well written post! I devoured the books too! One of my wife’s friends loaned them to us, and I read them in like 10 days, with a really busy work schedule. I liked that the movies were really close to the books. Not perfect, but close.

    We had the same kind of annoying rude ‘kids’ surrounding us (not as rude I guess, but loud), in a town of like 5000. The crowds for busy movies is what makes me not like seeing movies out like that.


    • Jackie April 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

      Thanks! And yes, the movies were close but I think they could have been better done. And why did they change how she got the pin? Why did they cut Madge? Why didn’t we get more Gale? *whine*

      I knew better than to go to a midnight showing of such an anticipated movie. I should start going right before they’re pulled from the theater. Or just stick to my guns and rent. I was strong once.



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