Ban the Popcorn Pest!

Ban the Popcorn Pest!

We’ve all seen him before, lumbering up the theater steps carrying his tub of popcorn—the dimensions of which would easily accommodate the bathing of a small child. You just know he’s going to pick the seat immediately behind you, where he’ll immediately commence gorging on his snack better fit for a giant DIRECTLY IN YOUR EAR. And he’ll continue to do so for the next hour and a half, at which point he’ll take a brief nap after his blood sugar crashes from the two-liter of Cherry Coke he also purchased for the occasion. Then, like a butter-glazed phoenix, he’ll rise once more to munch his way through the tension filled climax until the very hint of an ending credit. Then it’s immediately towards the exit he goes, abandoning his bucket and its three inches of remaining contents in the aisle for all to marvel at on their way out of the theater.

I absolutely HATE going to the movie theater anymore. The only thing worse than the sea of glowing white cell phone screens anytime there’s not a boob or explosion on screen is the popcorn. It’s noisy, smelly, messy, and just plain gross. In fact, in my humble opinion, the popped kernel is a scourge on all that is holy within the sacrosanct walls of the celluloid church. And it must be stopped.

We Must Ban the Popcorn Pest Now!

Oh, movie theater popcorn, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

It’s loud.

From the very moment movies became public entertainment, it seems like theater owners have been intent on creating a hostile snack environment for their patrons. Did you know that during the nickelodeon days, theaters used to sell bags of peanuts—in their shell—for people to eat during the movie? And people would just sit there, watching crazy cops chase each other around while a mustachioed man tied a lady to some train tracks, all the while cracking open their nuts and throwing the shells on the floor like heathens. How utterly rude!

The movies of 2012 may more modern, but not much has changed in the world of concessions. You’d think by now someone would have come up with a quieter snack for the movies—perhaps something marshmallow or mash potato based. After all, didn’t we all just pay good money to sit in a dark room together and stare at a screen for two hours? And, you know, listen to the people on it talking to one other? But what do we buy to eat? Popcorn. What’s wrong with us? Its inherent noisiness is right there in its name!

It’s smelly.

Light up a cigarette in the vicinity of anyone these days, and prepare to be glared at like you just strangled a puppy with your bare hands. But for some reason, it’s completely socially acceptable for some jerk to sit next to me with a bucket of salt and grease-soaked popcorn getting staler and stinkier by the second? How is this so?

It’s messy.

I worked in a movie theater for three years in high school, and I can confidently state that people who go to movie theaters are some of the most disgusting, sloppy, vile pigs on the face of the earth. Yeah, I know it’s dark in there, but all you’re really doing is bringing your hand repeatedly up to your face. Do you think you can maybe slow down and try to do it in a way that doesn’t result with 60% of your food landing on the floor or lodging itself in between your seat and your armrest? Thanks.

It’s expensive.

You people do understand that popcorn is extremely cheap to make, right? The average markup of movie theater popcorn is between 900-1200%. This of course explains why movie theaters continue to torture us with its existence, but it doesn’t explain why we have yet to storm the concession stand with pitchforks and torches demanding the blood of its operators. (Note: we really shouldn’t do this—those poor kids get paid, like, four dollars an hour tops.)

It’s bad for you.

Aside from the fact that real butter hasn’t seen the inside of a movie theater since 1974, it should go without saying that movie theater popcorn is probably one of the worst things you can put into your body. A typical large popcorn (20 cups) contains 1,200 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat. That’s half a day’s worth of calories and three days’ worth of fat. Hang your head, Popcorn Pest, for you are a disgusting little piggy. Now go to the gym and work it off immediately. And make sure you wipe down the bike after you use it, or you’ll also be the Gym Pest.

Movie theater patrons of the world UNITE! The time has come to Ban the Popcorn Pest!

Contributed by Erin Foster Hartley

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