Last night we went to watch the new Transformers movie on the big iMax screen. As we got out of the car in the theater parking lot, in a rush to get good seats, a young man approached and asked if we had jumper cables.

Luckily I did not have jumper cables, because if I did, I knew we would be late for the movie. I did my best to make a face that said, "I sure wish I could help," while being secretly gleeful that this was officially not my problem.

I wondered if the young man thought I was lying about not having jumper cables. My fake sincerity face looks like a mime with an intestinal infection. I felt I needed to sell my concern just a bit more, but without making us late for the movie. So I asked, "Do you have a cell phone?"

Now keep in mind that 110% of all young men his age group, at least around here, have cell phones. The figure is higher than 100% because some people carry two, in case one has a low battery. So there was no real risk of him asking to use my phone. And besides, who goes to the movies alone at that age? Surely his pack of friends was nearby, all with cell phones if not jumper cables.

But no. This was the one young man in the solar system who had no phone, no friends, and a dead battery. So I handed him my beloved BlackBerry and hoped he wouldn't start running in the other direction. He looked fast. But he was legit, and dialed his mom.

If you want to imagine how his end of the conversation went, recall George Costanza from Seinfeld talking to his mother. It went something like this:

Guy: "Can you tell Dad to come get me? My battery is dead."

Guy: "Why does it matter?? I was listening to the radio. Just tell Dad..."

Guy: "Just tell Dad..."

Guy: "Mom, can you just tell Dad to..."


Meanwhile, I'm tapping my feet, looking around, trying to look impatient without crossing the line into full jerk mode. I don't want to get the worst seat in the iMax theater. That's not a good one.

Now the young man's conversation turns to describing where he will be standing when his father arrives.

Guy: "I don't know, maybe near Fudruckers."


Guy: "Or maybe by Game Stop. Near Fudruckers. Or I could just walk over and stand by the Game Stop. It's by Fudruckers. Fudruckers. Fudruckers."

Surely this conversation was coming to an end, I assumed. I imagined only one seat left in the theater. My heart was pumping and my palms were sweaty. We already had our tickets. I sent my best ESP messages to him: Please hang up. Please hang up. But things only got worse.

Guy: "I think it's in the dryer."

Guy: "Yes, in the dryer. Because it was wet."

Guy: "I know you think it was on the couch but it's in the dryer."

Guy: "Yes, I'm sure it's in the dryer. JUST LOOK IN THE DRYER!!!"

At that point I reached my limit. I started giving the slice-my-own-neck signal to him to cut the call short. I mouthed "We're late for the movie." He got the hint.

Guy: "Mom, I have to go."

Guy: "Look in the dryer."

Guy: "Because I have a borrowed phone."

Guy: "Just look in the dryer. And tell Dad I'll be by the Game Stop."

Guy: "Not Fudruckers, but next to it. By the Game Stop."


Phone retrieved, we raced to the theater. There were exactly two seats left, on the far end, in the front. If you haven't been to an iMax theater, the screen is the size of a three story building. From my vantage point up close I could tell that motion was happening on the screen, but I couldn't discern what it was. I think the movie was about robots that fight, but I can't be sure.

I spent the next two and a half hours wishing I could meet the a-hole who decided to squeeze a few more seats into the iMax theater by putting them where no human being could enjoy the show. I'm peaceful by nature, but I'd make an exception for that guy.

Attempting to look at the screen was a losing strategy because it was just headache inducing. Luckily I can nap literally anywhere. I even fall asleep when I'm having my teeth cleaned (true). So I had a nice snooze through most of the movie, and I needed it. I guess it all worked out.

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Jun 30, 2009
I once traded a front row ticket for a middle row seat with a stupid guy who thought that the best seats are in front. This was when I was in class 10. I'm significantly more evil now and am a No Good Samaritan.

I pity you and laugh at you at the same time.

Ha ha ha ha ha.
Jun 30, 2009
That's what you get for helping a stranger. Never help a stranger, no good can come of it. 90% of the world are morons. With those odds, why risk getting involved?

Since the movie was ruined anyway, you should have waited with the kid until his parents showed up, just so you could ask a) what was in the dryer and b) why on earth they couldn't have waited till the kid was home to ask.
Jun 30, 2009
My kids did well on their report cards, and all the want is to go see this movie tomorrow, so I guess asking what the movie was like is kinda pointless. So long as it is not worse than the first one, and they do a few shots of Megan Fox, it should all be worthwhile.

My car has a standard transmission, so I don't bother keeping jumper cables in my trunk as I feel I'm never going to need them. Of course with my luck, I'll spot Megan Fox on the freeway someday with a dead battery and I'll be the useless jerk who stopped to help her. I'm willing to bet she has her own cell phone too.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 30, 2009
Roger Ebert's review of the movie:

"If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination."
Jun 30, 2009
So you are human. You wanted to meet your own needs first (get good seats) but did not want to appear a jerk (so you had to help). How typical. And you did the right thing in spite of yourself, then felt bad about it. We live in contradictory times, when we do the right thing and suffer later, sort of the means justifies the end. I celebrate your normalcy, you are not alone.
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 30, 2009
Attach the jumper cables to your nipples and start dancing. They'll run so fast they won't need a car. Problem solved.
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 30, 2009
My parents are like his parents. I don't get how some people's comprehension of the spoken language deteriorates immediately after bearing offspring.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 30, 2009
I'm with you Scott, I can sleep anywhere including at the dentist and even the barber (not recommended). For me, it's the constant hum of the machines that are used. Puts me out every time.
Jun 30, 2009
Scott, I can't believe you've lived this long without learning to send someone in to SAVE YOU A SEAT. We've always done this. One person gets tickets while the other stands in line with the kids. Or you take the kids in while the other gets drinks.

You apparently weren't alone, so why didn't your wife go in and save you a seat while you played Good Samaritan?

-5 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 30, 2009
So, our host failed to derive the pleasure from aiding a stranded child that he would have derived from seeing the latest and greatest(?) Michael Bay atrocity?

At long last, real evidence of <i>homo economicus</i>. Libertarianism is saved.
Jun 30, 2009
Yes I helped an elderly lady jump her car while I was at the eye doctor and advised her on what to have the mechanic look at. When I came out of the clinic I then tried to start my truck only to realize that jumping her car blew out one of the cells on my battery. So 2hrs, 60bucks(new battery) and a lot of sweat later I was headed back to the office.

Stuff like that rarely happens. I have a newer truck and dont have any cables with me but if someone had cables I would still jump them. It sucks not being able to start your vehicle. I have been there many times before unfortunately.
Jun 30, 2009
You are a blessing to the young man and he turned right around and screwed you... Couldn't he have said "Hi mom, can I please talk to dad?"- cuts the conversation time by 80%. Everyone screws you. You bank, your shoppong experience, you work (okay Scott, not your work, but everyone elses)....everyone screws you.
Jun 30, 2009
You should've known better, Scott - the IMAX theater in Dublin is ALWAYS packed.
Jun 30, 2009
Scott. You realize what you did wrong, don't you?

Remember the Biblical Samaritan. He didn't just help the mugging victim up, he took him home, fed and clothed him, etc. I'm not saying you should have gone that far, but if you had gone to Pep Boys to buy jumper cables, given him a jump, or even a ride home, then came back to the theater, you would have been super-early for the next show, and gotten the BEST seats in the house.

Instead, you visualized an inconvenience, and so were rewarded with an inconvenience. That is, if you believe in Visualization, The Secret, and all that stuff.

Now you can argue that you didn't have THAT kind of time to give the poor kid, and perhaps so. But the half-way measure that you took is why the saying "No good deed goes unpunished" is believed to be true.

At least you got some humor out of it. That one-sided conversation was histerical!

Jun 30, 2009
you didnt miss much.
Jun 30, 2009
Just tell the truth and say, "I don't have jumper cables," or "I don't have time." There are 100 people exiting a movie theater at any give time that have jumper cables and more time than you do. Or the kid would just go to a payphone or ask to borrow a store's phone. There is no reason why you have to get involved for karma reasons.
Jun 30, 2009
You can usually turn in your tickets for a refund if you can't get good seats. This type of situation happens to me and fiance a lot, since we're friendly people and that must show on some level. Also, he's obviously ethnic, so if people from his part of the world are in trouble, he's the go-to guy, apparently. We've learned to be content with catching another movie, or eating at a different restaurant, or kissing our date night goodbye entirely, since we're constantly helping other people.

While I too hope to see Transformers soon, I feel bad for the kid. Can you imagine what his life is like on a regular basis? "Why are you eating that cereal?" and "Who needs to wash their hair every two days?" and the in-public queries of "Are you wearing clean underwear?" Justifiable parenticide.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 30, 2009
Scott, I had a prime seat in the center of the theater and got the exact same impression of the film as you. Robotic blurs fighting for 2 1/2 hours too long. At least you had the common sense to catch some valuable sleep. I kept trying to find something of value in the movie while fighting off epileptic seizures.
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 30, 2009
The Imax seat designer used to work at General Electric -- he was the bitter and twisted guy who decided that settings 6 through 10 on toasters should carbonize the bread.
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 30, 2009
Fuddruckers is the man.
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