The other day, I was at a movie theater concession stand, and I saw a sign that said if you order a large popcorn and a large drink, they’ll charge you $15.50 instead of the full price of $16.00. I stared at that sign for ten minutes straight. I thought to myself, “Forget the movie. This is more entertaining.” When you think about it, that sign is really insulting. It would be like a burglar telling you, “I got a good deal for you. Now, my normal policy is to pick your lock when you’re not home, and steal everything in your kitchen. But I’ll tell you what. I’ll cut you a deal. If you leave your door open for me, I’ll steal everything in your kitchen except for your spatula and your can opener.” The movie theater has got some nerve, posting a sign about their full price of $16.00 and their combo rate of $15.50. They’re definitely not advertising that as a discount. No way. They’re just rubbing in the fact that they’re ripping you off. As in, “Popcorn. $9. Coke. $7. Is that too much? You want a discount? OK. Fine. Here are two quarters, you idiot. You can use your 50 cent savings to make a down payment on a box of Jujyfruits.”
I paid $16.00 for the popcorn and drink. I refused the discount. It was a matter of dignity. I gave the guy $16, he tried to give me back two quarters, and I said, “Don’t insult me with a 3% discount. Just give me the $9 popcorn and the $7 Coke–and then when I’m in the theater and the previews are playing, I’ll take out my phone and leave a Yelp review where I’ll instruct an angry mob to come down here, take all your popcorn, and shove it down your throat.”
So I bought the popcorn and drink. Then I went into the theater, and I watched the movie Fantastic Four. It’s some movie. My favorite part is the part where I was unconscious. Here’s how the moviegoing experience works for me. If I’m ten minutes into a movie and I come to the conclusion that the movie is boring, my body automatically falls asleep, just like how a grizzly bear automatically hibernates in the winter. When I say that to people, they tell me, “But a movie ticket costs you $9. Don’t you want to get your money’s worth?” Well. Here’s my counterargument. Let’s say you have $9 worth of rotten milk in your refrigerator. Does that mean you should pour the rotten milk on your Cinnamon Toast Crunch? That explains how I look at movies. Most of them are the equivalent of $9 worth of rotten milk. They should have that as their title. You go to the theater and say, “Two adults for $9 Worth of Rotten Milk.” “OK. That’ll be $18.”
On some days, a lot of stuff happens. On some days, not that much stuff happens. Either way, when you turn on the 5 o’clock news, they give you 30 minutes worth of news. You flip it on one day, and they’re talking about the Cubs winning the World Series, and your local government declaring bankruptcy, and Neil Armstrong coming back to life and flying to Uranus, and the President getting really drunk and selling Wyoming to Uzbekistan. Then another day, the news has to fill up another half hour, and they’ve got nothing. No legitimate news. So what they do is, they send a reporter out on the street, and he spends five minutes talking about something that no in their right mind should spend one second listening to. “Clarissa. I’m here on Oak Street in the San Fernando Valley, where dozens of local residents have noticed something truly astounding: there’s an entire bunch of bananas lying on the sidewalk. Estimates for the the number of bananas have ranged from five all the way to six, and the consensus is that the bananas are just hours away from ripening. These bananas have sparked outrage among the community’s Latino voters, and pretty much everyone else as well, being that Latino voters and non-Latino non-voters have a similar attitude towards a bunch of bananas on a sidewalk.”
Yesterday, I wanted to Google “blueberry muffin.” Now, as we all know, Google has low standards when it comes to spelling. You just put your fingers on the keyboard like a maniac, you type in some jumbled mess that kind of resembles English, and then Google says, “Did you mean ‘blueberry muffin?'” So I went through step one of that process. I was looking for “blueberry muffin”–and I typed in “vkuebutty miggomd.” And believe it or not, Google was unable to solve that mystery. It told me, “Your search – ‘vkuebutty miggomd’ – was not even close to matching anything on the internet. And keep in mind that we used our $8 billion worth of technology to try and figure out what you meant by ‘vkuebutty miggomd.’ But we still have no clue what that’s supposed to mean. You’re gonna have to meet us half way. Try to get at least one of the letters right.” So then I did some regoogling. I cracked my knuckles, I got on that keyboard, and I went to work. And I typed in “c;twberru ?yffo[.” It was a pretty good effort. I got the berr in blueberry, and I even got the double f in muffin. It was some of my finest work in my entire career as a Googler. And then Google told me, “OK. Here at Google headquarters, we just started a betting pool on what you’re trying to search for. Larry Page put $5,000 on ‘blueberry muffin.’ Sergey Brin put $3,000 on ‘bumblebee tuna.’ And Eric Schmidt bet $15,000 on ‘Pocahontas shampoo.'”
I really enjoy voting. Sort of. Not really. I mean, you go down there to vote for president, and then they give you three hundred extra things to vote on. They tell you something like, “Leilani G. Anderson is running for superintendent. What do you think of that?” Uh. Am I supposed to think something of it? Believe it or not, I don’t have any particularly strong opinion on Leilani G. Anderson and her bid to become superintendent. So, you know. I’ll stay out of this one. Just tell Leilani G. Anderson that I said hi. “And what about Proposition 28?” What about it? “Read it. It says, ‘Shall the state constitution not be unamended to disallow the reverse prohibition of Chipotle non consumption?'” OK. That’s very interesting. Is Proposition 28 asking me if we should make burritos illegal? I’m pretty sure I’m pro-burrito. Put me down for the combination plate.
When I go through a ballot, I feel like the most ignorant person in California. I recognize four names total, and most of the propositions seem like they have something to do with Mexican food. I feel like handing the ballot back to the person working there, and saying, “Um. I think you gave me the wrong papers. This ballot is for people who spend ten hours a day reading books, and memorizing the Constitution, and playing bocce ball with Leilani G. Anderson. That’s not me. I need the ballot for people who spend ten hours a day watching popcorn pop in the microwave. Or better yet, just give me a coloring book and some apple juice.”