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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Urinal Royale

Not to ruin the title of the latest James Bond offering in such a rude manner, but the intrusion into the movie by my persistent bladder made me think more about a urinal than a casino during the latter half of this film (to which I give four urinal cakes out of five, by the way).

So is it just me, or do any of you frequently get a nearly irresistible urge to have to go to the lav during a movie?

I know it’s not some sort of ‘weak bladder’ or undiagnosed condition I may have as, with the sole exception of going to the movies, I have the bladder of a Bactrian camel. I even make it a point to hit the head just before the film starts so I am as close to “Empty” as I can biologically be.

Yet, almost without fail, about an hour into any movie, my bladder begins its predictable, unrelenting and annoying regimen of telling me it is time to take a 'nature break'. It starts out as a gentle yet persistent nudge, wherein if I shift in my seat and ignore it, I can buy myself maybe five more minutes of comfort. But after about fifteen minutes I realize I’m faced with a full-on dilemma: either go soon or I ain’t gonna make it to the end of the film. At least not without a good pair of Depends, something I refuse to even consider wearing. I'd sooner put in a Foley catheter attached to an empty liter fluid bag!

Hmm, that's an idea actually ...

Anyways, so then I begin this mental cat-and-mouse game of trying to predict when there will be a lull in the action so I can safely bolt out of my seat, fast-walk to the loo, relieve my lower urinary tract, and then sprint back in time for the next scene. Yet, in most movies, about an hour-plus in, it is already starting the steady build to the film’s climax. Long-gone are any ‘talky’ scenes or 30 second snippets of ‘filler’ such as shots of the protagonists driving around to a catchy soundtrack in the interests of padding out the film (see Roger Corman). Movies these days are frequently longer than two hours, and this does not include the miles of commercial and preview footage you are subjected to before they even start. If it seems like there is going to be an important plot point revealed soon (“Luke… I am your father…” “NOoooooOOOOOoooo!”), or if the heroine’s breasts might soon make their grand appearance (Jessica Biel, sign in please), or if somebody I particularly loathe is about to get whacked (Dennis Farina always plays a highly irksome bad guy), then I will squirm and shift in the seat until the important scene has come to pass.

Having been a movie buff for many years (i.e., my entire conscious existence), I have developed a pretty acute sense of when it might be all right to nip out for a quick piss. But every now and then I am famously wrong, as in the case of the third Jurassic Park movie. The protagonists are all crouched in the jungle, having just survived some long and grueling escape from all manner of carnivorous and lethally quick dinosaurs. The film was barely 75 minutes old at this point, so I figured it was now or never or I’d miss all the cool action at the end of the film. And I did such a good job of getting there and back again that I may have broken my all-time record for Pissing During a Movie. Yet it was all in vain. For what did I see upon my return to the theater? The blimmin’ end credits! There they all were, the surviving cast, standing on a beach, waving at a distant aircraft carrier, with nary a velociraptor or Tyrannosaurus in sight.

What the…?! Where the fuck did the beach come from - weren’t they just running through miles of deep jungle? And the United States Navy is there now? Who was the genius that used their satellite phone to call in the biggest and most bad-ass reinforcements you could ever have since the original El Mariachi showed up in "Desperado"? And what happened to all those dinosaurs that were chasing them? Were they on a smoke break? Did the movie just go over-budget and suddenly become unable to show any more CGI goodness? Did I pass out on the way back from the bathroom due to a combination of dehydration and distress and miss 30 minutes of the film? Can you say deus ex machina anyone? Say it ain't so, Sam Neill!

I couldn’t believe it. So you can see why I am a little neurotic about bladder control when it comes to movies.

I think I have a good theory as to why this happens. I think the movie theater chains want you to have to go to the bathroom during a movie.

"But shouldn’t they want you to enjoy the movie you’ve paid so much to see?", you might say.

"Bollocks," I would then say.

The theater doesn’t get but peanuts from ticket sales, as mostly all of those proceeds go directly to the movie studio. No, the theater chain makes their money from the concession stand. So follow me on this: once you’ve paid for your ticket, the studio’s fees are satisfied and now the movie chain gets a crack at you. They need you buying that expensive stuff or else they won’t be in business for very long.

What do most movie-goers usually buy when they go to the theater? Why, popcorn and soda of course, the traditional movie fare. OK, so now they sell nachos and hot dogs, but this will also help to prove my point. You see, I think they lace the popcorn with a diuretic. "What’s that?" you say? It’s a substance that makes you make lots of urine and really quickly. Popcorn, nachos, hot dogs... these are already salty foods, but not salty enough!

So this stuff makes you have to go to the bathroom… sort of now-ish. Say, an hour or so into the film. And what’s that on the way to and from the bathroom? Why, it’s the concession stand, of course! So they’re hoping you might think to yourself, as you nervously slink back and forth between theater and urinal (or stall, in the case of the ladies), “Hey, now’s my chance to buy that Butterfinger I was too embarrassed to get in front of my friends as I snagged that jumbo popcorn and Coke combo.” Or, “Man, I’m so freakin’ dehydrated right now for some reason, I need to refuel with another Pepsi!”

You see it now? It’s evil brilliance! (no i'm not paranoid) And I’ve figured them out! (not paranoid, i tell you) By making sure you will be subjected to the siren-like beckon of the soft glow of the concession stand (I'MNOTPARANOIDSOJUSTBACKOFFOKAY), with its hunger-inducing buttered popcorn aromas. Ever notice how it makes you hungry for it even if you’ve just had a 7-course meal? There are also those irresistible decadent chocolate temptations to reckon with, too, so they are potentially doubling their profits with this tactic.

Now there is just one problem with this theory, at least as far as I am concerned. You see, I don’t mind paying twelve dollars for a popcorn and soda at the movies. I know I’ve already been soaked by the movie studio for nine dollars for a ticket, but I don’t mind that either!

"Why is that, you crazy egg-sucking fiend?" you may ask?

Well, I’ll tell you. Because I like the movie-going experience. No, that is wrong: I LOVE it. And I never want it to be taken away from me. I know how much money the movie chains lose every year, which seems unthinkable given how much they charge for admission. But studios give them less and less of the cut of profits every year, because movie making is getting better but with that comes more expense. This is also why I hate movie pirates so much. No, not the crew from "Pirates of the Caribbean" fame, I love those guys. I'm talking about the punks who show up with their camcorders or whatever.

I’m all too happy to pay for it because I love the big popcorn flicks, the movies that everyone says “OH, you had to see it on the big screen to really enjoy it!” Well that is cliché but it’s spoken for a reason, and I don’t care how cool you think your flat screen home theater surround sound system is (although I do covet one of those), nothing will ever come close to the big screen experience short of building your own personal one.

So even though during my viewing of "Casino Royale" the other day when I had the sudden urge to go to the bathroom about 90 minutes in, it didn’t keep me from enjoying the movie. It really is pretty good, and the new Bond works for me. I was able to patiently ignore the ceaseless signals from my ever-filling bladder to GO NOW and enjoy the film without pause.

Although Eva Green never did show us her boobs so, as it turns out, I wouldn’t have missed much anyways.


Blogger DanaBurger said...

wow a whole blog about piss.. ha ha what next! i'm pretty good at holding it until the right moment.. like one year i went to girl guide camp and there was only a outhouse.. well the outhouse had shit flies surronding it and i decided that i would not use the bathroom all weekend.. and well i didn't use it until sunday night when i was home sweet home! ok so maybe i thought i was going to fall in hole but hey i saved my life even though i had a very restless sleep since i really needed to pee.. however i did not have to hold my breath and torture myself by going into the outhouse like all the other campers.. soo who's the smart one now?? ha ha (don't answer that)

6:57 PM  
Blogger Brooksie said...

Hi Dana! Wow, you have shattered my personal record for longest time 'holding it'!! Next time I'm at the movies and only make it an hour and a half before I have to go, I'll remember your inspiring experience at the girls camp and make it to the end! I went to a few boy scout camps growing up, and the outhouses were always unforgettable experiences ...

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what's ironic... I really had to pee before reading this post and as this is the last blog on my rounds, I figured I could make it/hold it... but that was a long and taunting post...

(Postcards From London - I can't sign in for some reason)

1:55 PM  
Blogger Brooksie said...

Steve - you get extra credit for not only reading the entire post (I need to hire an editor!) but doing so while on the brink of really having to 'go'. It's like you were right there with me, suffering through the movie and trying to hold it in, man. Appreciate the solidarity!

6:09 PM  

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