If Life Were Like Old Movies
"Now I'm gettin' old, I don't
wear underwear. I don't go to church and I don't cut my hair. But I can
go to movies and see it all there, just the way that it used to be."
Well, maybe not quite
the way things used to be, Jimmy. In some ways, movies were a completely
alternate reality, even before high-tech special effects came along. Being
mindful of that, and of the holiday releases, I offer a brief primer on
a few of the differences between this world and old celluloid-land.
In real life, if someone
hangs up on you, you mutter a choice word to yourself and get on with your
In old movies, when someone
hangs up on you, you must repeatedly and at a frenzied pace, jam your finger
on the plunger and shout "OPERATOR! OPERATOR! WE'VE BEEN CUT OFF!" even
though this has never worked, even in the movies.
In real life, we all have
push-button phones by now.
In old movies, when a rotary-dial
phone is used, the number must always be 221-2112. Saves time. Maybe 2122,
but there will never be a number higher than three, and certainly not zero,
unless it's followed by shouts of "OPERATOR! OPERATOR!
In old movies, all long-distance
calls were operator-assist, and the operator was actually alive.
In real life, it's 11 digits,
unless you're on one of those 10-10-whatever services. Or unless you're
away from home billing it to your home phone which is 12 more digits. Or
someone gave you a prepaid phone card for your birthday ("now where did
I put the damn thing?") which is God knows how many more digits and if
you get it wrong you have to start all ovů"oh, hell, I'll just send an
In old movies, if you punch
someone in the face, hard, the sound is like a slightly muffled firecracker
(a definite crack) yet you can immediately finish smoking your cigarette
using that hand. Your opponent, while knocked to the ground, shows not
a mark or a drop of blood. And if you're the hero of the picture, that
one punch knocked him out.
(Corollary to the above:
in a Three Stooges short, hitting someone in the head with a ball-peen
hammer not only doesn't crush the skull, it makes a pleasant, ringing sound,
much like a door chime. In real life, it's second-degree murder.)
In real life, punching someone
hard in the face makes a sickening "thud" sound, if it's anywhere near
a nose or a lip it draws blood, and even if you didn't actually break your
hand you won't feel like using it to pick anything up for a while. But
you might consider using your feet, because your opponent was not knocked
out and now he's really pissed.
Lovers, not Fighters:
In old movies, nobody got
pregnant or caught a disease because nobody had sex. (One exception: the
girl in Love Story died of "old movie disease." Symptoms: it's painless,
and you're lucid and witty and have perfect makeup until the bitter end.
Another "plot-device fatality."
Related: Nobody's mother,
wife or sister ever went to the bathroom. (Real life: until you
were in the 4th grade, neither did your teacher.)
In real life, tires squeal
only on dry pavement, and even then not very often, what with anti-lock
brakes and such.
In old movies (TV too,) tires
squeal constantly on dry pavement, wet pavement, sand, dirt, gravel and
grass. But skids rarely get out of control.
In movies and TV (old and
new,) there's always free parking by the door. In real life, well,
In old movies, if a car has
any reason to stall, it will do so on the railroad tracks. A deadly
In real life, if a car has
any reason to stall, it will do so at a major intersection, causing others
to switch into "road rage mode." A deadly situation.
To the gentle readers of
GetDetails, I wish the happiest of holidays. As the "real" millennium rolls
in, Scoper is taking a break from the weekly column (Hey! I heard that!)
But like the proverbial bad penny, he'll likely show up from time to time.
Till then, "set a spell, take your shoes off. Y'all come back now y'hear?"
Scoper, (is that your real name?)
Thanks for a ruthlessly
entertaining look inside the mind of a true deep thinker, and a regular
supply of thoughful commentary. It's with sadness that we wish you
good luck with your future enterprises. We'll miss your wry wit, so we'll
save you a few megabytes of space, just in case you decide to drop back
in from time to time. By the way, do you have a sister? --Editors