Natalie and I were making our monthly trip to that monument of capitalism, Sam’s Club. There are only two of us and we seldom eat a gallon of olives in a month. Somewhere along the trip Natalie mentions she wants a copy of Pirates Of The Caribbean.
I am no Pirates fan. It’s a very clever, inventive and well-done one hundred minute movie someone left inside a two hundred and twenty minute running time. I am a staunch believer that few movies need to go over two hours, even fewer over two hours and twenty minutes and never should a zombie pirate movie based on a theme park ride never be longer than JFK, Schindler’s List or Malcolm X. My friend Jessica nodded off at a drive-in watching Pirates during a fight sequence and woke up thinking she’d only nodded off for five minutes. In truth, she’d been asleep for an hour but couldn’t tell since all the action sequences look the same (pirates fighting zombie pirates in the dark).
My other favorite story like that is from my friends Jon & Amy who watched Memento complaining about the non-chronological editing only to find it was their DVD player skipping and showing the same chapter over and over. They watched the same scene four times before they figured that out.
So we get to the register and start unloading our groceries. I know Sam’s Club doesn’t bag groceries but would it kill them to put three feet of surface to the back of those registers? It’s like the dude scans your stuff and if you’re not Johnny-On-The-Spot, he’s putting your two liter of pickle relish on the concrete floor. It’s bad enough they don’t supply bags but the boxes they do supply are all display boxes with huge holes in the side. Why even put those out there to tease people with? It also puzzles me why everywhere on Earth everybody has eco-friendly bags to buy for ninety-nine cents except the place that doesn’t supply bags of any kind.
So all the groceries go on the belt and the girl is scanning them, picks up our DVD and the register beeps. Already having seen my Sam’s Club ID, she looks at Natalie and asks for her ID.
NATALIE: What for?
CASHIER: For this movie.
NATALIE: I don’t have my ID.
Often when Natalie and I leave the house there is a “key check” where she verifies who’s driving, who needs to be carrying keys and this is where she announces she has no keys, no money, no check cards and sometimes no cell phone.
DUMB CASHIER: Well I can’t sell you this movie without an ID.
JIM: I’m here. Just sell the movie to me.
STUPID CASHIER: I can’t with her here unless I know she’s over eighteen.
NATALIE (Irate): I’m twenty seven.
JIM (To NATALIE): HA HA. You have a law degree and can sue people but you can’t buy a movie at Sam’s Club.
NATALIE (To JIM): Shut up. (To MORON CASHIER) I have a bottle of wine in there, too. Are you not going to sell me that?
IDIOT CASHIER: No.
JIM: Wait a minute.
I flip the movie over and point out the rating.
JIM: This is a PG13 movie. It’s Parental Guidance. You don’t even need to be thirteen to see it in a theatre.
THICKHEADED CASHIER: The register says you have to be eighteen.
JIM: Okay, but you see that rating?
BRAINDEAD CASHIER: Yes.
JIM: And you see these words on the front that say Walt Disney Pictures Presents?
LOBOTOMIZED CASHIER: Yes. But the register says you have to be eighteen.
Frustrated, I am amazed at the lack of common-sense and judgement. The inability to make an executive decision and realize anything with the words “Walt Disney Presents” on it is probably a little different than had we tossed a copy of Reamgirls with Beyonce Holes in front of her. That maybe she might need a manager to override it and just admit the stupid machine is wrong. Is this where we are in our technology? That we rely on machines to make our judgement calls for us? When SkyNet takes over this chick will be the first one to bow to her cyborg overlords.
Natalie realizes her backup driver license is in one of the ten pockets in her shorts. She shows the woman who obviously doesn’t understand the only thing worse than irritating a black female is irritating a black female lawyer and the only thing worse than that is standing between a irritated black female lawyer and her getting her Depp on.
So we got the movie and I went home and placed it on the corner of the wall where I keep Natalie’s movies (because I have worked very hard on my movie collection and shouldn’t have explain why there is a copy of Clueless between my copy of A Clockwork Orange and Conan The Barbarian).
Something similar happened to me at a theatre when I went to see 28 Weeks Later and the usher needed proof that I was eighteen.
I’m thirty-five. I was eighteen before you were born.
Maybe we just look young. Maybe it’s just zombie movies.