Wednesday, June 14, 2017


the modern movie going experience
as a symbol for the state of modern man

it’s the middle of the day on a weekday
which is probably the best time to blow money
on blockbuster movies with stadium seating
and there is a group of four at the cash register
trying to pick out their seats for the movie
it is taking them longer to do this
than it probably took them to vote
the two men in front of my wife and i keep shouting
about the movie they are going to see
some super hero flick in IMAX real 3D
that the pricing board tells me will cost them
the equivalent of two meals in one of manhattan’s
finer eating establishments
when my wife and i get to the register
the cashier will not take our money until we select seats
something that i tell him i used to do
on the spur of the moment in the actual theater
and my wife and i almost get into an argument
because i want her to pick the seats and she doesn’t know
which seats to pick and i don’t know which seats to pick
and now i feel bad for making fun of that group of four
and, yes, it took me less time to vote for president
than i did picking out two seats for a super hero film
in standard form…not in IMAX real 3d
and upstairs the concession stand is like a feeding trough
the lines go almost out to the door
the theaters serve nachos now and chicken wings
and hot dogs and burgers and chicken fingers
and…was that prime rib?
but the sodas are still as big as water pails
and the butter still has the consistency of motor oil
the theater has the caloric content of EVERYTHING listed
a large popcorn and a large soda will run you
900 to 1400 calories depending
and the nachos with a soda got you hauling a good 2000 calories
but this doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone from eating anything
people are holding tubs of popcorn like fat babies
sodas that you’d almost  need an NBA all-star to palm
spraying butter oil all over metal counters
inside the theater the seats are these big plush, red leather deals
with a least an ocean of space in between rows
they recline for christ sake and people are already sitting
laying, rather, with their popcorn resting on their fat bellies
their sodas nestled into pail-sized grooves cut into the leather
and on the screen there are ads
for sharing a coke, for driving a self-driving car,
for living a self-driving, carefree life with absolutely no responsibilities
so many commercials that i think i’ve seen more commercials
in this short span of time
than i’ve seen in the last year alone
and looking around the theater at these resting blobs
of contented flesh
it seems to me that in ten or twenty years people
will not be able to drive cars on their own or operate ovens
or find their way down the block without some GPS machine
and that they still won’t read the caloric content
on an order of chicken fingers and fries a large drink at the movies
(1910 calories to be exact)
and god forbid they end up in a theater
in a seat they didn’t pre-select, that isn’t made of soft red leather
that doesn’t recline or compress or offer to get them off
while they’re wading through the hour of commercials
for the thirty minutes of trailers
for shitty movies they’ll pay to see in IMAX real 3D
or 4D or 5D or perhaps they’ll just have a chip
placed inside of their heads
and they can act in the movie themselves
be the big super hero saving the world, the super spy,
the slick wall street trader who has to take down the system
the swashbuckling pirate, the sexy ingénue
and it won’t matter they’re all getting fat on corn syrup
and processed meats and gooey processed cheese
just as long as the seats are comfy, the popcorn butter is hot
they still have sno-caps and junior mints in 40 ounce sizes
and that maybe the movie will be something to remember
at least for the next forty-eight hours
until the next diversion is waved in front of their faces
another star-studded shit show from hollywood
that cost more to make than the gross national product
of some small nation
that doesn’t show up on google maps

--john grochalski


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