years ago, during a conversation, it came out that I had never seen a James Bond
movie. This did not seem remarkable to me, since the marketing which featured
scantily-clad women and shoot-em-up-bang-bang, appeared to be directed toward
men. However, the assembled company felt that there was a gaping hole in my
cultural awareness, so it was agreed that we'd mount an excursion to remedy the
The next week found me in the theater as the then-current adventure of Agent 007
was about to begin. The lights dimmed, and before the credit began, the screen
was filled with an image of a young woman in a bikini bathing suit. In an
instant the action began. The lady in question was screaming, whilst being
pursued by two large ferocious-looking dogs. They ran into a forest, whence more
screaming. I gathered my belongings, told my friends that I'd see them after the
show, and left to enjoy a peaceful cup of coffee, until such time as they were
able to join me.
That was not the first, and will not be the last, time I've cut short an
experience which seemed as though it would be unpleasant. Is this a total
intolerance of contemporary entertainment? No, but when something is not
enjoyable, I stop doing it. I'm willing to spend money for a good time, but not
to waste it for a bad one, hence my occasional added expense for refreshment
until a production has ended. No, I don't go about asking for refunds, since the
seat cannot be resold, but there is no reason for me to remain anywhere which is
Yes, I know many folks who are bitter-enders; they remain in place until the
final curtain. What have they gained? The right to kvetch afterward seems
to me a poor reward for time spent.
So, why am I telling this tale now? Most of my readers are about to spend the
new year at various group gatherings. For the most part these will be happy
times. Alas, for some they will be tense ordeals. The tension is usually because
of conversation which is intrusive or overheated.
Would you rather not discuss your family planning or politics? Then don't do it.
If asked a question you'd rather not answer, just say that you'd rather discuss
something else. Is your inquisitor insistent? Excuse yourself, and join someone
else. Should the group become too loud for your taste, step away for a while,
and admire the Autumn sky. Avoid becoming one of those people who say they dread
events, and instead become more assertive about your right to enjoy them.
This is the beginning of a new year: a time for thought, forgiveness, and
celebration. Now is when we should be acutely appreciative of life, and
protective of our right to its joys. Every hour is precious; don't throw them
away. Thank you, G-d, for allowing me another year.
Copyright 2009 Eddy Robey