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“Is That Seat Taken?” Yes, I’m Saving It For A Moron …

April 12th, 2011 · Tags:Arts · Satire

I don’t understand it. How did I become … this? The early years were decent. I worked hard, “I helped little old ladies cross the street” … but somehow, now, I really need to join a support group.

I have become a moron magnet.

If you have read this blog, even semi-religiously-ish, you have probably seen my wordy tales of farters flying coach; public f-bombers on trains; hotels workers caught doing it in my room; even less-than-desirable propositions by drunken tubers on rafting trips because they said I looked like John Lennon. People with loose screws seem to tighten it up a notch and bring their best game right to me.

Why? What did I do? What is it about me that attracts the phylum sociobottomus retardus? Are they trying to tell me something about my own social skills? Do I make them more comfortable about themselves? Do they think we are of the same lineage and/or are compatible? Do they think we are competing for the coveted title of village idiot?

I think my favorite is still the kid who stepped over my feet at Starbucks, kicked my feet on the way over and didn’t even say “Excuse me.” I mean … there were two or three paths of less resistance where he could have walked, but instead he tried to champion the obstacle course that is me and my flipflops.

Did I let it go? Ha … you kidding me? I called his punk ass out! And, I am glad I did, because his response was priceless … “OH, I didn’t know they were your feet.” I had to laugh, and just admit that he had the advantage in our war of words …

I digress …

So, I’m a little worried about this tendency … but, meanwhile, I will just continue to jot down notes on these memorable characters that get between me and where I want to be.

Like the other day … I watched the Shorts Award Winners screening at The Dallas International Film Festival. Most were excellent. For example, there was a bizarre film about an elderly couple who finally conceive a long-awaited child, but alas, their offspring turns out to be hideous and a social embarrassment. So, they do what most level-headed parents would do … they lock the kid in the attic. OH! Did I mention the characters in the film are animated puppets, dressed in fine clothes and they have bird skulls for heads. Pretty strange, yes … but like I said, mildly amusing.

The Birds Upstairs

It’s called “The Birds Upstairs.” I mean, it was no Alfred Hitchcock, but I would give it 5 feathered pings on the PingWi-Fi 1-to-7 scale.

So anywho … there were appropriate, well-deserved cackles throughout the audience … when this dude sitting next to me lights up the theater with an ear-splitting, head-turning, knee-slapping laugh attack. Pretty weird. I had to wonder if he was a friend of the film’s producer … or even more likely, could he have been a rival filmmaker and was he using reverse psychology insane laughter (RPIL) so that everyone else would find the film not funny? Hmmm …

Thank goodness the films were shorts. I thought “Well, the bird skulls are gone, so this guy should simmer down and go back to playing with his sunglasses and his cell phone. (You know, a Blackberry puts out an almost blinding light, next to you, when your eyes have adjusted to a theater.) Even more reason to love this guy.

OH … I almost forgot. This guy didn’t start out beside me in the theater. You see, this isn’t my first moron rodeo. I had carefully chosen a seat with only one empty chair beside me. People … or should I say, sane people, recognize that single empty chair as the international signal meaning “Don’t sit here.” Well … as the theater filled up, three attractive females entered the same row of seats, where I was minding my own business. The buffoon was a couple of seats over and at that point unnoticed. The hotties asked the guy to move toward the aisle, so they might have three seats in a row — including the empty one by me. What did he do? He scooted the opposite way to grab the seat closest to me. It was like I had a moron tractor beam, and it pulled him in, and put him riding shotgun with me.

Back to the short films. Next there was a great piece with the somewhat obvious chuckle of a title “The Legend Of Beaver Dam.” Before the screening, the emcee greeted the filmmaker (in attendance) and announced that the film had won the competition. (I wished they had said that it stunk to heaven, to throw off the nutcase now regaining his breath beside me.)

Oh no. He heard it was quite funny, so he started doing vocal chord warm ups, preparing for what he had seen as his duty … his only apparent reason for living — to accompany the film with at least a six-pack … or more like a case of fake, canned laughter. Was this guy a recent grad, looking for a job as a laughter track performer? Or was he an artiste, perfecting his craft?

Perhaps a distraction to the moron laughter boy, the film on screen started with a campfire scene — smores, Swiss army knives, scouts, an overweight scout leader, yada … yada … The scout leader — sort of a Jack Black wannabee — fires up his guitar and makes up silly songs with insults fired at the nerdiest of the kids. Next comes ghost story sing-along time …

And then, to everyone’s surprise the film becomes a a slasher rock opera, with murderous zombie ghouls, blood splatters, and a dead scout leader … all in good fun. Didn’t see that coming …

Well played — 6 pings, despite the moron’s attempt to make me hate the film and wish I had never been born … or undead … or whatever.

The Legend Of Beaver Dam

Well … when the first throat was slashed, I am pretty sure the idiot beside me wet his pants. That uncomfortable wetness combined with a nervous laughter impulse due to fear took him to new decibels.

I looked around to see if there was a “Seinfeld” film crew in the theater. Ha … I would have settled for “Punked.” No such luck. Unbelievable that one attention-starved fool could make that much noise in an enclosed space — disrupting an entire theater. After about two dozen outbursts — some in which he was the only person in the entire theater who laughed — I attempted to communicate.

And I attempted to do so, without making even more of a scene. I wondered if he could read body language if I made it very remedial reading. I leaned forward, turned my head to him, looked him in the eye and put both of my hands over my ears. (Yes, I really did.) In my culture, that mean “Shut yo pie hole.”  He didn’t speak body language.

I am pretty sure my diplomatic gesture made him worse. When the characters on stage were all singing about or participating in the campfire murders — like some clip from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” or something … he upped the anty. He laughed/yelled “OMG” at the top of his lungs, and slapped his legs, and clapped his hands, covered the row in front of us with slobber and popcorn particle projectiles (P3) flying from his teeth … and he farted too.


Oh what a proud moment that must have been in the mind of a person bent on getting attention in a small theater. When the lights came up, most of the people in the general area of this moron stood up quickly and ran. Not me. I suffered through the credits, and sat there until the lights went up. I wanted a good long look at this guy. I wanted to remember his face … I plan on returning to a great film festival next year. But, I will never, never sit by this guy again … nor will I let anyone else, without a stern warning.

Oh my gosh! It was him! The obnoxious laughtrack boy was the little kid at camp in the film, the one whom everyone had made fun — but now “all growed up.”

Just kidding.

Know what I sayin?