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OPINION

Embrace new things, large and small

The Examiner

I should have quit when I was ahead.

I got my flu shot, a preventive step to maintain good health. There I was, free to simply leave the drugstore, but no, I felt like I needed a Milky Way. The virtue of getting a flu shot needed an offsetting transgression.

Jeff Fox

A Milky Way is one of those things that’s just not lying around at the ready in my bubble during these stay-home, stay-safe days. I guess I could buy them by the tub at Costco, but that doesn’t end well.

So I’m here. What’s the harm? One standard Milky Way.

Hmm. Milk Duds, M&Ms, a Heath Bar the size of an iPad – but no Milky Way in sight.

It was the Milk Duds that oddly struck me as, all of a sudden, nostalgic.

Let me explain.

I like movies. I can take or leave the popcorn and that butter goop. But I like coffee or a Coke, and it’s a coin toss between Junior Mints and Milk Duds. It’s not just a movie. This is a small economic event. It’s also two sedentary hours sitting in the dark and consuming empty calories, but stay with me.

It’s October, which means it's almost Oscar season. October is when the prestige movies start to come out, though the studios also slip in a few prestige duds. Caveat emptor. It’s all part of the dance.

Oscar season and trout season are my remaining hobbies, and I haven’t wet a line since about 10 minutes before COVID. The movie awards season is a mess, given the lack of, you know, movies. Things change. We’ll get through this.

I can grumble and get by, but every darkened screen is less commerce, fewer Milk Duds, fewer jobs. Streaming is taking over not only movies but whatever TV is evolving into. It looks as if the pandemic plus Disney plus Netflix, etc., are hastening the day of closing theaters.

We’re losing something – kicking it to the curb, actually – but one day soon we’ll yearn for it and say why oh why do things have to change?

I’m almost as happy – almost – exploring lots of streamed stuff. Some are older movies I never got around to seeing. Some are new and offbeat and would never have gotten on a big screen around these parts anyway.

It is, however, not the same. The living room is comfortable but has one distraction after another. That’s one of many reasons a theater with a big screen and big sound offers a superior experience. 

But the big movie releases keep getting pushed back, and the big theater chains are getting pushed to the wall. No Milk Duds on the near horizon. 

At the drugstore, I looked and looked. No Milky Way. I settled for a peanut butter Kit-Kat, which turns out to be less wonderful than imagined. It still counted as the tasty sin I was looking for.

It doesn’t matter. It’s a small, small thing. Enjoy the moment, take what you can get, and keep moving. 

Reach Jeff Fox at jeff.fox@examiner.net.