Thursday, November 09, 2006
Lots of people have "dreaded-consequences-of-scratching" stories, so many that I'm beginning to think that scratching an itch is one the most perilous things you can do. It was in my case. Here's the story...
Years ago a famous German director made a low-budget, 8-hour movie called "Our Hitler." The critics raved about it and I was curious to see it. Evidently the public didn't share my curiosity because, even though I saw it on opening day, there were only about ten people in the audience. I found a seat in a completely empty section of the theater and prepared to be blown away by high art.
Well, to put it mildly, there was no art. The whole film was an amateurish, stream-of-consciousness home movie about whatever trivial thing the director felt like talking about. Sitting through it was torture; I wanted to strangle the critics who recommended it! I found my self endlessly re-adjusting my position in the seat, refolding my jacket, and scratching imaginary itches. Sometimes I'd get itches on my arm and, since I had nothing else to do, I'd roll up the sleeve of my shirt just to get a good scratch on just the right place. I particularly liked scratching my five-o'clock shadow which was bristley and made a noise. Once or twice I tried scratching like a dog just to see what they saw in it.
Hour after hour the film plodded on and I got more and more restless and itchy. I was scratching like a madman. Just when I was in the middle of the mother of all raking scratches a giant moose of a face appeared from the seat behind me and shouted at the top of its lungs: "Stop it! S T O P I T!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IF YOU SCRATCH ONE MORE ITCH SO HELP ME I'M GONNA KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I froze and slid way down into the seat, too scared to move. I didn't even breathe. I just tucked my head into my shoulders and looked rigidly forward. Where did this guy come from? In a nearly empty theater why did this giant have to sit right behind me? I stayed there completely still for the rest of the film. When the film finally ended and the light came on I discovered the seat behind me was empty. There were only about three people left in the whole theater. I guess my outraged citizen found the film intolerable, even without the scratching.
So that's my itching story. What's yours?