If I hadn’t gotten lost on the way to the entry exam, the people at Mensa might have made me a member. I did try a second time, but I got a flat tire on the way and I have no idea how to use the jack in the trunk. Otherwise, I’d be in Mensa. Believe me.

I’m sure you can’t get in Mensa if you don’t understand movies. At home, while Mary Ellen and I watch a flick, she sits on the couch answering emails, and solving complicated Sudoku puzzles. But she still manages to understand exactly what is going on.  I am perpetually confused and continually request that my wife stop the DVR and so I can ask if those are those the good guys or the bad guys?

 Mary Ellen has so little faith in my ability to follow a plot that she sometimes stops the recording herself, and asks, “Okay, do you realize what just happened?”  I find this insulting, demeaning and emasculating, but it sure does help me understand the movie.

I don’t want my wife to think I am not watching carefully, so if I doze off and suddenly wake up, I begin laughing to show her I am paying attention. That proved to be a mistake when I fell asleep during Blazing Saddles and didn’t realize Mary Ellen had switched to a Civil War documentary.

Part of the problem is that filmmakers always look for ways to perplex the viewer in an attempt to make a movie more artsy. Instead of that silly rating system, let’s pass some sensible bipartisan legislation that deals with the following criminal acts by movie-makers:

Flashbacks – If there is going to be a flashback in a movie, there should be a big sign in the theater lobby that says: Flashback AT 7:37 p.m. and 8:42 p.m. Sometimes I sit through a whole movie confused, until my wife says, “Dick, that was a FLASHBACK.”  Okay, now that I know that, I want my MONEYBACK.

Dream sequences – This is when a character either dreams or imagines something on the screen. In the old days when a person was having a dream, you got this campy music and the picture swirled and dissolved to show the actor had fallen asleep. I guess special effects are hard to do nowadays.

Prequels and sequels – Years ago while watching the first Star Wars movie,  my son informed me that they made the second episode first. “On purpose?”  I asked. “You’d think with 500 people on the production set, someone would say, “Hey, wait a second, we forgot to do Part I!”

Actors who look alike – How many movies have you seen where there are several characters with similar hair, mustaches, and  body types?  And there are often several attractive blondes you can’t tell apart.  (Wait, that’s Fox News).  All that stuff confuses me. At church, we wear name tags. If it’s good enough for Unitarians, it’s good enough for Universal pictures.

I still go to the movie theater with my wife. I don’t mind paying $1.00 to get in, 25 cents for a bag of popcorn, and 10 cents for a Coke.

By the way, that was a flashback.




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I seem to have a great deal of trouble turning things off. Turning them on? No sweat. Light switches, blenders, lamps, ovens, fans. They’re a breeze—especially the last one.

I used to have a car with a weird issue. When I’d turn off the ignition and get out, it kept running. There was an additional reason I never bought another Ford Pinto, but I forget why now.

My wife has to keep reminding me while I’m driving to turn off my turn signal.  My car has six airbags, a rear-view camera and voice-controlled GPS directions. I’d give it all up if the blinker would go off automatically after I—what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yeah: TURN.

The other day my wife and I were talking via cell phones. “Dick, I gotta go. I have another call.”

“Okay, see ya.”

“Dick, are you going to hang up, or not?”

“I’m trying, Mary Ellen. I pushed the button three times.”

“I’m trying also. Get off the phone. I don’t want to talk to you anymore.”

“You don’t have to make this sound so personal.”

Then there’s my computer. For some reason, I frequently can’t get my machine to shut down. Please tell me this happens to you. I was so frustrated I called Kevin, my tech nerd, and told him the problem I was having.”

“Dick, I just spoke to a guy who needs my help to reconfigure his router, install Windows 10 and upgrade his video adapter and you simply want to know how to turn your computer off? Did you push the off button?”

“Geez, Kevin, of course I pushed the off button. How dumb do you think I am? And please don’t mention that time you came to the house and for a hundred bucks got my printer working by just plugging it back in the outlet.”

“Try this: press the power button softly and hold it just a second.”

“I did that. It won’t turn off.”

“Then press the power button really hard and hold it for 20 seconds.”

“I tried that, too. Wait a second, how can both of those be right? Why should this be so difficult? I’ll just pull out the plug.”

“Good idea.  I can use the money.”

Here’s another thing I can’t turn off:  Those very loud commercials that play on my computer in the background.  I don’t know where the sound is coming from and I don’t know where to find the X to shut the windows. Sometimes I get so frustrated I just want to turn the computer off, but remember: I don’t know how to do that.

Yesterday, my wife suggested we go out for a date night. “Great,” I said. How about a quick sandwich at Jimmy John’s and then we could see that new Vin Diesel movie?”

“Well, I can tell you, Dick, that would be about as unromantic an evening as I can imagine.”

Finally, I learned how to turn something off.

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