Idle Thoughts from Mt. Was
Reluctant critic...
by Ollie Harris
Feb 21, 2013 | 524 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To begin, think of a medical condition or procedure that you dread. Any sort of cancer is off limits for this little exercise, but all cancer screenings are fair game. Once you have made your choice, set it aside but do not forget it. You will need it later to fill in the blanks.

So, the first thing Barbara said to me a few mornings ago, after, “Good morning,” was that she wanted me to go with her to the movie that evening. I agreed without question because that’s just the sort of nice guy I am.

It was an unusual request, though. Going to movies has never been my thing. We have lived here for over 40 years and I could easily count, on two hands with two or three fingers left over, the number of times I have been in that theater.

I went to a movie in that same theater in the spring of 1960 because the girl I was with was dying to see the movie and that’s just the sort of nice guy I was. But, I always thought that taking a date to a movie was time wasted.

The theater was chaotic that spring night in 1960. Kids were running, shouting and throwing things during the movie. I had an aisle seat. I heard running footsteps coming down the aisle. I stuck my foot into the aisle and witnessed a most satisfying belly flop.

One notable exception to my rule of dates and movies was taking a date to the drive-in movie in my little 1931 Chevy. It had a spring-loaded blind above the back window. Once settled in, with the speaker hooked to the side window, and treats bought from the concession stand, it was time to pull the blind down for a little privacy.

Anyway, evening arrived and Barbara and I went to the movie. I really had no idea what I was getting into. In the opening moments I could see that it was going to be a long ordeal. For the next two-and-a-half hours, every line of dialog was sung. But, you couldn’t call the movie a musical because there was nothing musical about the singing.

Mr. Bowthorpe, my old GCHS chorus teacher, or Pete Henderson, director of the Canyonlanders, with whom I sang for several years, would have cringed at the strained sounds coming out of the actor’s mouths. There was no quality to it, no smooth, round sounds. And, only once or twice was there anything like a recognizable melody. The effect was a kind of combined whining and the dragging of fingernails across a chalkboard.

About an hour into the movie I remembered that I had a pair of foam earplugs in my shirt pocket, left there from my last outing with my rifle. I pressed them into my ears. Ahhh, that was better.

I didn’t intend to tell Barbara about the foam earplugs because I didn’t want to detract from her experience. But, when I checked later and she said she thought the movie was miserable, I told her about them.

I am not comfortable taking the role of critic. The words of my mother keep echoing through my mind: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Let me just say that I can’t imagine anyone buying the movie soundtrack.

Now, are you remembering your choice of dreaded medical condition or procedure? Get ready to put it where you come to the blanks.

When we came out of the theater, I said to my son-in-law, “It made me wonder why I have put off getting a ________ for so long.” I also thought, “Well, it gave perspective to a ______. ” And, I thought, “At least, a _______ doesn’t take as long.”


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