behold the terrorist

Some may argue that “[t]he ‘terrorism bubble’ has burst,” but let me tell you: the fight is still going strong in Sparkle City.

Monday afternoon, as 4:00 approached, I decided to go see Talladega Nights1. After driving to the closest theater, I bought my ticket (there was a little weirdness at the ticket counter as the semi-comatose teenager kept talking to someone over her shoulder) and walked inside. The manager came up to me immediately and said, “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave your bag2 in your car.”

Me: What? Why?
Manager, as if I’m an idiot: Well, for one thing, after 9/11 we can’t be too careful.
Me, reaching to open my bag: Oh, do you want to check inside?
Manager, as if I’m a pervert: Sir, I’m not interested in your personal things.3
Me, thinking but not saying: Either you are or you aren’t. I’m getting mixed messages here.
Me, very calmly: Can I get my money back?
Manager: Yes
Me, getting my money back: Do you tell women with purses the same thing?
Manager, pausing a weirdly long time, like he’s gonna stare me down, Walker, Texas Ranger style: Sometimes.
Me: I find that hard to believe.

Sure enough, as I left, a high school couple purchased some tickets and made their way inside, only to return shortly so the girl could leave her purse in her car.

My solution? I went to another theater and saw the movie (with my bag in tow), no problem. I ask you, dear reader. W. T. F?

I lived in D.C.4 before, during, and after 9/11, and I took this bag on the Metro all the time, into movie theaters, into the Library of Congress, into the Folger Shakespeare Library (which is a stone’s throw from the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court), into all of the Smithsonians and art museums, and no one ever told me to leave the bag in my car. I’ve taken this bag into movie theaters, on the subway, into museums and other public buildings in New York5 with no hassling from anyone. I’ve taken this bag on the underground, into museums, and other public buildings in London6 with no hassling from anyone. I’ve taken this bag all over Manchester7, with no hassling from anyone. Hell, I took this bag into the Hanoi Hilton last fall with no hassling.

Reader, when a prisoner of war facility in an oppressive, corrupt, communist regime affords people more freedom than a movie theater in small town America, something has gone horribly, horribly wrong.

The security forces in all of these cities may think they know how to handle and prevent terrorism, but apparently this theater manager in Sparkle City knows something they don’t.

Either that, or he was invoking the horrific deaths of over 2,000 people to ensure that no contraband candy was being snuck into his theater. But that couldn’t have been what was going on, because that would just be fucking disgusting.

  1. My review, in a nutshell: Meh.
  2. This would be my brown, nylon, L.L. Bean, over-the-shoulder bookbag that I’ve had since the early ’90s. I would call it a messenger bag, but I doubt messengers would be seen with something so ugly. At the time of the above terrorist intervention, said bag contained my cell phone, my pda, my ipod (i.e. about $500 worth of electronic goods), a few magazines, and a plastic bottle with water in it because it’s about a billion degrees here and I try to stay hydrated. There’s no way I’m leaving all those electronic goodies in my car to be either stolen or baked in the heat.
  3. WTF? Like I’ve got a big dildo in there or something?
  4. You know, where the terrorists have actually attacked. I was watching the news coverage of the WTC attacks when they cut to the Pentagon to report the attack that had just happened about ten miles from my home. It was one of the worst days of my life.
  5. You know, where the terrorists have actually attacked.
  6. You know, where the terrorists have actually attacked.
  7. You know, where the terrorists have actually attacked.
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6 thoughts on “behold the terrorist

  1. Well, jumping jesus, what did you expect? George, unless you have had a complete (and unfortunate) makeover, you are hardly Talladega Nights material. The poor bastard was right to be suspicious. I am suspicious.

  2. Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that.

    On the one hand

    • I’m from the South
    • I live in the South
    • I’m a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan
    • I love Will Ferrell

    On the other hand

    • I don’t have a southern accent
    • I carry a bag
    • I’m a Bjork fan
    • I love Eddie Izzard

    What really persuaded me to go see the movie was a line shouted by Ferrell’s character in the preview: “Drive it like you stole it!”

    He doesn’t actually say this in the movie.

    (I have seen this expression on local bumper stickers, however.)

  3. I had a buddy in back in Baltimore that ran a theater and the real reason people aren’t generally allowed to bring in bags is because they are worried about bootleg copies of the film getting out. Video cameras are tiny these days and you can go to any corner barbershop and pick up a bootleg dvd of a film that came out in the theaters the day before.

    I think the manager that confronted you was just an idiot.

  4. I thought about Justin’s interpretation as I was re-reading this entry. He may have been concerned about piracy, but I’m guessing he was simply a Barny Fife who had too much time on his hands.

    I would endorse banning all beverages from movie theaters, though, not because I’m worried about terrorists but because stupid Fayetteville teenagers take great pleasure in lobbing sodas onto theater audiences.

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