My scam to sneak into the movies as a senior has backfired. (See post of February 7, 2007.) I had been itching to see the Bill Maher movie, “Religulous”—it sounded right up my alley. There was a huge crowd outside the theatre, waiting to see “Quarantine, ” but no one in line at the box office. The lady there was older than your usual apathetic twenty-something: she could have been selling tickets part time while collecting Social Security. So I decided not to try to get in as a senior. She might look up.
“One for ‘Religulous.’”
“Are you a senior?” she asked, looking at me.
“Yes,” I said, looking back. I was astounded, but if she was going to offer, I would go along with it.
“Do you have I.D.?”
“I don’t have it with me,” I said. I was carrying an enormous bag, the bag I bought to carry “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” in, and she must have thought it odd that there was no I.D. in there. What was in there was two bottles of imported beer and an opener. I shrugged and said I’d pay the full price.
“How old are you?” she persisted.
I was beginning to feel like a bug under a magnifying glass in the sun. “Sixty-four,” I said. (I forgot that the minimum age for old is sixty-two. Maybe this added verisimilitude.)
She looked at me searchingly—I have let my hair grow out, but I still prefer to think of it as brown with platinum highlights—and said, “Next time, you’ll have to show I.D.”
I walked toward the escalator with my $7.50 ticket, wondering if it was worth four dollars to be humiliated, and trying to calculate my year of birth, if she had asked. (1944? Incredible!) I bought popcorn and Whoppers, like a six-year-old, and found a seat in the back row. A young couple came and plopped themselves down right next to me, and after a while I picked up everything—coat, bag, popcorn, beer—and moved down a few seats to have elbow room. You see, I am ageless: child, adolescent, and crank, all rolled into one. Behaviorally speaking, all that is lacking is my true biological age.
“Religulous” had some good things in it, like a shot of Mormon underwear (it has pockets) and an interview with Father Reginald Foster, the famous Latin teacher in Rome and Latin Secretary to the Pope, who was fired by Gregorian University for letting people audit his class without paying. He’s wonderfully irreverent. There was also an interview with an actor who plays Jesus at a Biblical theme park, and apparently has trouble breaking character, and a visit to a service in a truck-stop chapel. But after I had drained my beers and munched my way through the popcorn and masticated the Whoppers (which were gooey instead of crisp; a true crank would have mailed in the unused portion and demanded her money back), I felt myself dozing off. The next thing I knew, the credits were running.
Maybe I was tired. Maybe the film, a documentary, lacked narrative thrust, or was a bit too much like the Stations of the Cross. Or maybe I was just trying to live the lie. Anyway, I hope I didn't snore. And I wonder what I missed.