Monday, February 22, 2016

Paul and I sneak into the movies

“You know what your problem is, it's that you haven't seen enough movies. All of life's riddles are answered in the movies.” — Steve Martin

OKAY, don't laugh and don't bust me, but I unintentionally accomplished a small item on my bucket list: I snuck into a movie.

I'm guessing it's because I was so ridiculously, boringly good in high school — never broke rules or colored outside the lines . . . like ever . . . (my circuit consisted of school-church-home-school-church-home-school-church-home-school-church-home, rinse and repeat . . . you get the picture) — that I found the stories Paul told me about the pranks he and his high school buddies pulled so tantalizing.

Hugh Hawkins, Dave McMullen and Paul were The Three Musketeers, with Hugh decidedly the ring leader. They snuck into a particular hotel over and over again to use the jacuzzi. Much funnier is the way they did it: crawling on their bellies around and past the reception desk Mission Impossible style. 
They purloined raw steaks from Eddie Webster’s then went back to Dave’s house for a cookout. 

Paul used to slide down the escalator bannisters at Valley West Mall . . . until mall management caught on and installed metal protrusions to make the slide down painful enough to prevent it, and then there was the night they flew the Cadillac, but that's too complicated a story to tell. 

In what they considered to be a service to mankind, the crew surreptitiously snapped Kiss LPs in half at a particular record store. Their rationale was . . . Kiss had already made more money than they needed, the record label had already made more money than they needed, and the local store got reimbursed by the label for every damaged copy so the proprietor was out nothing . . . and humanity is spared.

The Musketeers also pranked the marching band's drum major . . . a lot. Paul was supposed to have been the drum major his senior year, but because he was such a strong trombone soloist, the band director told Paul he couldn't do without him in the line, so he and his band buddies retaliated by pranking David, Paul's replacement, mercilessly all year long. No need to worry that he was being bullied, though. All four guys were pals, and David's mom was even in on some of the jokes. 

Three or four times Paul and his cohorts picked up the VW Bug David drove, carried it off and repositioned elsewhere in the parking lot so David couldn't find it. Once they wedged his car into an outdoor atrium walkway in such a manner that it was impossible to remove without having it lifted out the same way it went in. 

From time to time Paul also put tiny pieces of paper between the points in the engine so his car wouldn't start . . . or he'd put a potato in the exhaust pipe to turn it into a cannon, and once the guys completely cocooned his VW in Saran Wrap.  

When Paul went to the University of Iowa, he found solo mischief. He glued a quarter to the sidewalk outside his favorite bar one day and sat in the window all afternoon watching people try to pick it up. When the quarter was finally dislodged months later by some combination of weather, shoveling, foot traffic or brute force, he glued another one down. There was a quarter stuck to that sidewalk for four years.

Paul also liked to climb the exteriors of multi-story buildings in Iowa City like Spiderman, but this next one is tied with the Saran-wrapped car for my favorite — he made maps of the U of I's traversable underground steam tunnels . . . and sold them.

Then there's me. I had to be coaxed and coaxed and coaxed by Paul — despite the fact that we were in a deserted shopping center with no witnesses, and we were even out of town — to get up the courage to run up a down escalator.

After hearing about Paul's exploits for all these years, is it any wonder that eventually 
I began imagining my own daring-do: sneaking into the movies.

I finally did.

I've mentioned in a couple of recent Hey Look posts that before I married Paul, I used to make a point of seeing most of the movies nominated for awards in any given year. This season I decided I wanted to try to do it again. 

We're aiming to see six of the eight movies (two of them, Mad Max and The Revenant don't interest us) that have received Academy Award best-picture nominations.

We saw Spolight and admired it greatly. 

We took in The Big Short and enjoyed it. 

We rented The Martian on Amazon. I liked it, but Paul probably more so because he's such a science geek. 

We rented Bridge of Spies which was suitably entertaining. Mark Rylance's turn as Rudolph Abel was outstanding.

We still have Room left (ha! there's a little pun there) which we'll see this week at a Des Moines theater showing pre-Oscar reruns of several of the nominees all in one night.

But the capper was this past Sunday when we snuck in to see Brooklyn.

We arrived for the 4:30 movie at like 4:32, so we were in a rush. I was just a little ahead of Paul in the sprint from the parking lot to the multiplex. I had my credit card out and in my hand ready to pay, but when I got to the long bank of box office windows, every one of them was vacant and bore a sign saying, "Excuse us while we remodel" with no instructions as to where to go to purchase tickets. 

I hustled through the glass doors into the lobby proper, but after an admittedly quick look around, I couldn't see where paying was supposed to happen. 
I thought surely the ticket takers would know where to go, but there were likewise no ticket takers, and so after a brief moment of hesitation, I legged it to the appropriate screening room. 

I had every intention of paying for our tickets, but it was either search and miss part of the movie or make a break for it. 

Afterwards Paul said, "Well, for a second I considered stopping you, but then I thought 'Shoot, this is a bucket-list goal. She finally snuck into the movies.'" 

As our then 14-year-old niece Darragh Bridson, once said to me, "C'mon Kelly, live a little."


  1. HaHaHa! Good for you. I don't recommend Grand Larceny, but a teeny thing like that once in a lifetime? Yeah, you go! Especially for someone like you who does so much good for so many! Lots of fun comments in this article. I giggled all the way through it and now, I am as excited to meet Paul as I am to meet you!

    1. You're always so sweet to me! Yup, Paul is hilarious. You'll love him.