Thursday, July 29, 2010

Small Victories

Sometimes things have a way of working out. Take today for instance, we decided to go see Disney's "Toy Story 3" in 3-D at the local multiplex. I nearly had a heart attack when the ticket clerk told me that the senior citizen price for tickets was $13.00 a head! Are you kidding me! I don't want to be in the movie, I just want to see it. I was still muttering as we approached the candy counter where I soon learned that a small bag of popcorn cost $6.00. I'm not talking about the Rosie O'Donnell, bucket size, but a small bag of popcorn. For six dollars I can fill my garage with much money do they need to make?

We were a little early for the show so we waited outside the mini-theater where our movie was scheduled to be shown. As each movie ended, hordes of noisy kids rampaged through the lobby with no thought as to what a disturbance they were creating. I couldn't help thinking of the old Colonial Theater in Brooklyn where they hired former women's prison guards as "matrons" who wielded flashlights like nightsticks, and were the most aggressive "shushers" you would ever want to meet. One of the reasons we don't go to the movies much is that I am an inveterate shusher, and this embarrasses my poor wife. If I'm paying $13 a ticket I want it to be as quiet as a cemetery, and I don't appreciate people talking on their cell phones or noisily opening their six pound box of Jujubes.

Our show time was 2:05 pm, and we entered the theater fully prepared for the 20 minutes of coming attractions played in Dolby sound loud enough for Helen Keller to hear. The show began with the announcement to put on your 3-D glasses and get ready for the entertainment experience of a lifetime. We dutifully obeyed and were rewarded with a blank screen. This announcement was made several times, but each time the same picture. Then came the announcement: Folks, we're having computer problems. We have sound but no picture. We're trying to reboot the computer. In all my years going to the Colonial Theater the projectionist never had this problem. Ain't computers great?

After a few more tries, the theater manager, age 12, says they cannot resolve the problem. Now, in my mind I'm rehearsing my standard outraged customer spiel for a refund ("I'm a senior citizen on a fixed income, how can you do this to me"). Then I hear her say the magic words: "You can have your money back plus a free admission to see the movie any time you want." My annoyance at having to pay $13 a ticket evaporates as I realize I will not only get my money back, but get to see the movie for free! Feeling like lady luck is on my side, I decide to head for the Staten Island Mall to try to redeem a coupon for a $10 gift card that they mailed to me on my birthday. The coupon says supplies are limited, so I fully expect to get the sad news that the coupon is worthless.

We find the Mall business office tucked away in a place nobody would ever expect to find it. I hear the lady at the desk telling a woman in line before me that they have run out of gift cards, and I smile to myself thinking my luck has turned. Sure enough the clerk tells me that indeed they have run out of gift cards, but they will not only e-mail me when the birthday gift cards are back in stock, but will give me another $10 gift card for my inconvenience in making a trip to the mall. I look up to the heavens to see if the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter is aligned with Mars. Is this my day? I try to talk my wife into making a run down to Atlantic City but she intelligently declines.

Sometimes things do have a way of working out. Between the movie tickets and the gift card, I'm ahead $36 because someone screwed up. I know that $36 will not change my life, and that I shouldn't feel like I just won the lottery, but nonetheless I'm sitting here celebrating with a gin and tonic as big as a fish bowl. I know such a small windfall shouldn't get me so excited, but it does. Sue me.


LOOKING FOR A WORTHY CHARITY? TRY THESE FOLKS: Children's Craniofacial Association


Joseph Del Broccolo said...

Anything that makes you happy you SHOULD celebrate! When you think about who is running things now, we need reasons to celebrate!

Jim Pantaleno said...

I just hope we can survive the full four years with President Soundbite at the helm!