Or So it Seems … Shocking Suggestions

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
~ Dalai Lama XIV

As of January 1st, there’s no free parking on Sunday in San Francisco, your employer can’t demand your Facebook password, and there’s now a limit on driverless cars on the road.

No word on whether this includes those on Lovers’ Lane.

The New Year, brings 900+ more regulations. No doubt they’ll make this a better world. But the blog-o-sphere is lashing out at lawmakers. We laugh at rules for things that don’t exist, like balanced budgets, yawn at dull stuff–everything other than babies, cute animals, and the Kardashians.

In the interest of raising their approval ratings above shower fungus, I suggest that politicians ignore reality and focus on what truly matters, and that’s movies.

Here’s my list of RULES-WE-REALLY-NEED and some appropriate punishments for those who deny me the rights guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence to live in a film-induced fantasy.

#1 – How many times have I pressed the wrong button on my DVD remote control, only to see the disk eject.? Way too many. Then I get to spend the next 15 minutes wading through ads, copyright warnings, trying not to let the thrill of a big romantic moment fizzle like a week-old Coke.

We can eliminate this problem forever with the MAX-4 Proposal. – This law requires all video remotes to have four controls, MAX. These are

  • Play
  • Stop
  • Fast Forward
  • Rewind.

That’s all a normal human needs. Over-eager engineers want more? OK, they can glue additional buttons to their foreheads.

#2 – And as a companion piece of legislation, we should have the ADLAST-1 Requirement. This states that rental movies must begin at the beginning, and promotional materials for other flicks and dire copyright warnings run at the end. This isn’t free TV. I paid to watch a movie. Let them park this noise somewhere else. Whoever stuffed all this clutter in my face should be force-fed through the night drop.

True, I can TRY to fast-forward past them, but with my luck, I usually blast too far into the movie, and then I have to watch half of it backwards. Either way, it just ruins cinematic magic.

#3 – It gets even worse in the theater. There, I’ve paid top dollar to see the movie, and mixed in with the previews these days are ads for video games and deodorant. Some of them boggle the mind. We need a rating system that tells us how much we can expect to be embarrassed or annoyed.

I propose the OMG-17 Standard. – Commercials must carry an Awkwardness-Rating. The “AR” will reveal how uncomfortable we’ll be if we see the AXE body wash ad while sitting next to someone on our first date. Additional ratings could tell us whether it’s safe to view while we’re in the theater with our mother, wife, children or random co-worker.

Sure, theater owners will howl. But we can do this if the law has teeth. The owners must be brought to heel. If they don’t disclose the “AR” rating before we see someone fondling a suggestively-shaped personal-hygiene product, then all patrons get a nice new $50 bill. If it happens a second time, it’s a C-note, and after that, the real financial back-breaker, we all get a free large soda, popcorn and candy bar. Outrageous? Yes. But this will either stop the practice or put them out of business.

#4 – Of course, I’d prefer we just eliminate the ads, but short of that, the promos and previews shouldn’t be longer than the movie. So, GERE-86 proviso would enact this standard. To keep the industry from ignoring it, we’ll hold everyone accountable, from the ticket taker to the concessionaire and even the projectionist. If we make violations painful enough, they’ll be crippling walk-outs. We can get 100% compliance if violators are herded into a room and forced to watch an entire evening of B-rate  films starring Richard Gere, starting with HACHI.

#5 – Movie theaters are full of people fiddling with their cell phones, getting calls, texting and yakking. On-screen reminders? Last time I counted FIVE. It had zero effect.

So being nice has gotten us nowhere.

But this can be stopped by, of course, just the right piece of legislation. The Volt-44+ Mandate requires manufacturers to add doggie shock-collar technology to all handhelds. Misbehaving moviegoers will see stars that aren’t even on the screen. Repeated violations would cause a bigger jolt each time. Smart phone technology will make this a breeze. Maximum voltage will be applied to anyone using a ringtone by Barry Manilow.

#6-. Those of us who still buy the occasional DVD want the cases to be easier to open than a pair of handcuffs. I’ve sliced off a arm or two while sawing through a wrapper. Worse yet, I broke a brand-new case, and even snapped a disk in half while extracting a purchase from these sadistically sealed flicks.

This problem will be a thing of the past when the @#$!!**@#$-Wrapper Ban takes effect. Offending companies will be raided by the FBI, and the same agents who enforce anti-piracy warnings will encase the CEOs in shrink wrap and cast them into a remainder bin. This is better than they deserve, but this is a family publication.

#7 – Finally for the most serious crime of all, it would be felony to exit a theater and reveal the ending to those standing in line. The SPOILER-911 Sanction would nip this in the bud. Blabbermouths can expect a year’s hard labor in federal prison. Cruel? The law’s first draft had offenders strapped down for a week of viewing C-Span. This was axed because representatives from Texas thought it too harsh.

So politicians take note. These seven simple suggestions will make more people happy than all that “global warming” and “renewed infrastructure” stuff you fussed over last year.

Face it, we’d rather watch M*A*S*H* reruns, Mission Impossible #257, or Reality-TV than SEE any real-reality on TV..

Unless it features Richard Gere.

Robb has enjoyed writing and performing since he was a child, and many of his earliest performances earned him a special recognition-reserved seating in the principal’s office at Highland Elementary. Since then, in addition to his weekly column on A News Cafe – “Or So it Seems™” – Robb has written news and features for The Bakersfield Californian, appeared on stage as an opening stand-up act in Reno, and his writing has been published in the Funny Times. His short stories have won honorable mention national competition. His screenplay, “One Little Indian,” Was a top-ten finalist in the Writer’s Digest competition. Robb presently lives, writes and teaches in Shasta County.

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Robb Lightfoot is a humorist, author and educator. He and his wife raised a family of four kids, a dozen or more dogs and a zillion cats. He has enjoyed writing and performing since he was a child, and many of his earliest performances earned him a special recognition-reserved seating in the principal’s office at Highland Elementary. Since then, in addition to teaching at Shasta Community College, and his former column on A News Cafe - "Or So it Seems™" - Robb has written news and features for The Bakersfield Californian, appeared on stage as an opening stand-up act in Reno, and his writing has been published in the "Funny Times". His short stories have won honorable mention in national competitions. His screenplay, “One Little Indian,” Was a top-10 finalist in the Writer’s Digest competition. Robb presently lives and writes in Chico where he manages ThinkingFunny.com. He also hates referring to himself in the third person, and will stop doing so immediately. I can be reached in the following ways: Robb@thinkingfunny.com PO Box 5286 Chico, CA 95928 @_thinking_funny on Twitter
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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Canda says:

    These are great ideas, Robb. My favorite is shrink-wrapping CEO's of offending over-wrap products. Also, there's nothing more frustrating than a movie spoiler. Years ago I was watching a movie at home, and a friend called. I told her what I was watching, and she says, "Oh it's horrible that so and so dies at the end." I couldn't believe my ears! Totally ruined the movie for me. My revenge was perfect though. She happened to be a substitute teacher, so I called her to sub for my class the day after Halloween. Now that's a severe consequence for anyone!

    • Avatar `AJacoby says:

      Oh, Canda . . . . I really think the day-after-Hallowe'en could be considered cruel and unusual punishment for any human, subs in particular!!

      And Robb . . . . I'll join what ever political party subscribes to your suggestions above!

  2. Avatar Terry says:

    I feel better – I'm not alone in deploying one's sharpest knife to remove shrink wrap while hoping you don't slice body parts….or having a DVD snap in two while trying to remove it…or accidentally pushing that wrong button so the DVD ejects…or being embarrassed by the pre-movie ads as I sit there in the theatre with my grandkids! Thank you for great solutions to these problems.

  3. Avatar Sally says:

    With references to ads, any are totally annoying, but what really gets me are the ads that show TV shows. Do they want us to go home and watch them? Also, when attending a PG movie, they show obviously R rated clips of future films! Sure glad I brought a grandchild to this!

  4. Avatar Larry says:

    Robb, way back in the old days I remember renting Top Gun on VHS tape. Anyone remember VHS? Anyway there was an 90 second Pepsi commercial before the movie began. This so incensed me that I recorded over the Pepsi spot and the FBI warning(!). Yes, I rewound the tape before I returned it, and spared the next viewer the agony of Pepsi and FBI spots.