Musings April 2016
By Ron Marr
I went to an actual movie theater a few months back. In most cases, this statement wouldn’t jiggle the needle on the importance meter. It’s about as earth-shattering as self-
evident proclamations in the vein of “I ate lunch today” or “Bacon is a fruit.”
However, since I hadn’t visited a theater in nearly a decade, the event struck me as a bigger-than-normal deal. My friend Lori—knowing I’m a huge fan of the Rocky franchise—
informed me that I absolutely had to see Creed. She further emphasized that I should catch it on the silver screen. Watching it via Amazon in the comfort of my own home, she explained, would rob the flick of its magic.
Lori was right. The film was nothing short of wonderful and gut-wrenching. Still, after returning home, I began to think about why I so rarely attend events and destinations that are generally considered routine.
In the case of the movies, there are a few valid reasons. The closest theater to my present locale is a seventy-mile round trip. Also, I’ve a financial and philosophical aversion to over-priced snacks. I’ve never been fond of literally rubbing elbows with the multitudes and have zero patience for people whispering or yakking into their cell phones. Finally, there’s the inevitable array of coughs, sneezes, and other less-than-palatable human noises prevalent in a packed house during the cold and flu season.
It doesn’t take a whole lot of snorting and sniffling before I feel like I’ve paid for orchestra-level seating in a petri dish. The chair is cushy and the temperature perfect, but just one row ahead of me is a growing family of hostile bacteria and a boisterous group of insouciant viruses.
However, there was a darker aspect to my picture-show excursion. We live in odd and harrowing times where crazy folk more and more frequently inflict deadly insanity upon others.
Each time I heard the theater door open, or whenever someone arose from his or her seat, I wondered if a deranged shooter was about to cut loose on the crowd. Call me paranoid, but at that moment, I wished I was packing something other than a Payday bar and a can of Coke.
Lots of people argue over the pros and cons of a populace armed for purposes of self-defense, but I’ve no desire to continue that argument here. Circumstances dictated that I carry a concealed weapon during various phases of my life, but doing so necessitated attaining a certain knowledge and proficiency. I’m not positive most people would bother to achieve those key elements, and thus I’ll leave it to others to stir this particular pot.
My point is this. I enjoyed sitting in a theater and seeing a movie. But, the fact that violent mayhem has infiltrated the most innocent parts of our collective reality bugs me more than a little. There’s something sick and broken within our culture, something that has nothing to do with superficial politics, ideological differences, or opportunistic cries for gun control. There’s much good in the world—of that I have no doubt—but over the past couple of decades a whole lot of evil seems to have bubbled to the surface.
Not so many years ago, when I lived deep in the Ozark woods, friends and strangers repeatedly asked if I was ever scared by my semi-isolation from the “protections” of civilization. My reply was always the same.
“What’s there to be scared of? All I’ve got here are cottonmouths, copperheads, wild pigs, and the occasional rabid skunk.”
I guess they didn’t understand what to me was obvious: all the really vicious animals lived in town.
Ron Marr can be reached directly at ronmarr.com.