“[I doubt my senses] because,” said Scrooge, “a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

After a wonderful meal at Paul and Amy Jo’s last night — beer-cheese soup, salmon cakes, garlic aoli, mashed potatoes, a corn dish that wasn’t grits — Kris and I slept in this morning. When at last we rose, I made hot cocoa for breakfast. I started to prepare a single cup, but that left only enough cocoa powder for one more serving. “Why not just have it all now?” I thought, and so I did. I sat at the table, reading the paper, dunking honey toast into my cocoa. Delicious.

In the afternoon, we saw The 40-Year-Old Virgin. “My gut hurts,” I told Kris as we drove to the theater. “My gut always hurts after I drink cocoa, especially if I drink too much.”

Kris shook her head. “Maybe you should stop buying chantico,” she said.

“I’ll just get some pop at the movie to help soothe my gut,” I said. I’m not sure why I thought this would work.

Kris paid $12 to get us into the matinee. ($12!!!) I bought refreshments. “What can I get you today?” asked the bright young Regal employee.

“Uh, well. I see you have combos available,” I said, pointing at a sign, “but you don’t list the prices for them.”

“I can tell you the prices. Which one would you like?”

“Well, what’s the difference between the nachos and the super nachos?”

“The super nachos come with more chips and two dipping sauces,” she explained, as if the super nachos were the best movie concession in all the world. “Would you like the super nachos?”

How could I refuse? “Uh, sure. How much does that cost?” I asked.

“Ten dollars,” she said, “and it comes with a medium drink. Also, if you buy a combo you can have any candy for two-fifty.”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll have a diet. And some M&Ms.”

“Is Diet Coke okay?” she said, and I sighed inwardly. Of course Diet Coke is okay — that’s why I say ‘diet’ instead of ‘Diet Pepsi’, yet whenever I ask for a diet soda, the server always asks “Is Diet Coke okay?” or “Is Diet Pepsi okay?” Maybe I should ask for ‘diet cola’ instead.

The girl scooped up our chips and M&Ms and then handed over a tub of diet cola. “That’s a medium?” I asked, awed. She smiled and nodded. The forty-four ounce “medium” drink contained the equivalent of four cans of soda. Thank god I ordered diet.

“I can’t believe we’re paying $24.50 to see a movie,” Kris said as we waited through the barrage of music videos and advertisements that Regal Cinemas inflicts on its customers. I hate Regal.

“At least I got a forty-four ounce diet,” I said.

“The thing of it is,” said my wife, the trained observer, “we didn’t save any money by getting all this food. They didn’t list the prices of the combos because there’s no discount for buying them. They cost the same as if you’d purchased the items seperately. I added it up while you were ordering.”

“At least I got a forty-four ounce diet,” I said.

As the movie began, I realized I was in trouble. I’d been sipping on the soda for only fifteen minutes, and already I needed to urinate. I held out a while longer, but was soon forced to make a dash for the restroom. I hate to miss any part of a film for a bathroom break, but ultimately I had to miss three chunks of The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Forty-four ounces of diet cola are too much for my bladder to handle.

Perhaps those three missed chunks were crucial to one’s enjoyment of the film. Despite my appreciation of Judd Apatow‘s televison work (Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared), I found The 40-Year-Old Virgin mediocre. Parts were funny, but invariably the audience laughed where I didn’t, and I laughed where they didn’t. (The biggest laugh for me came from a music cue, for goodness sake.) This isn’t a movie one needs to see in a theater, if ever.

We did chores in the late afternoon. I tried not to get distracted by side projects. (I have a bad habit that goes something like this: Perhaps I am sweeping the library floor. As I sweep, perhaps I gaze absently at a bookshelf filled with Latin books, and perhaps it occurs to me that I ought to put the Latin books into alphabetical order. Rather than finish sweeping, I pause — because it will only take a minute — and sort the books. Then I pull one of them down to thumb through it. Pehaps I think to myself, “I should begin studying Latin again.” Perhaps I then decide to go upstairs to google a Latin word. Or two. Or three. Perhaps I then decide to check the football scores. And then I might as well try to catch up on my e-mail. Before I know it, Kris is scolding me because once again I’ve forgotten what it is I’m supposed to be doing, which is sweeping the library. Without Kris to guide me, my rooms would be perpetually half-swept, though at least all of my books would be in alphabetical order.)

After chores, I was hungry. The super nacho and the forty-four ounce diet soda hadn’t been filling. “Can I have your leftover Chinese food?” I asked Kris, because I knew she’d say yes. I piled her Mandarin Chicken into a bowl with my General Tso Chicken and stuck it in the microwave. The resulting mass was terrible (deep-fried Chinese food just does not reheat well.) “This sucks,” I said.

“Then don’t eat it,” Kris said, but I did anyhow. I didn’t enjoy it.

Later in the evening, my gut began to hurt again. I ignored it and climbed into bed, but I could not fall asleep. I took a sleep quiz in a magazine: “Are you an owl or a lark?” I was a lark: best in the morning, not performing well late at night. I turned out the light and lay there in my C-PAP mask, breathing deep Darth Vader breaths (breaths that scare the cats), unable to sleep for the gross Chinese food causing a pain in my gut and for the fourty-four ounces of diet cola I’d consumed earlier in the day.

6 Replies to “Forty-Four Ounces”

  1. Kris says:

    Ah ha! I just discovered that what I mistook for decaffeinated Earl Grey was actually the fully-caffeinated version. That pre-bed cup of tea explains why I was gazing at the clock for hours. Let’s go to sleep early tonight.

  2. Amy Jo says:

    The corn dish that wasn’t grits = spoonbread.

  3. Lisa says:

    The last movie that Craig and I saw in a theater was Harry Potter III. (No need to pity us–we never made it to many first run movies before Albert. I do miss the Laurelhurst, though.) I’ve been feeling bummed that we haven’t made it out to see 40 Year Old Virgin, but I don’t feel so badly now…

    And any one of those things you ate would have been enough to make my stomach completely rebel–I’m impressed that you managed to keep it all down. Especially the nachos and 44 ounces of soda.

  4. J.D. says:

    I did share the super nachos with Kris. Actually, of all the food I ate yesterday, the super nachos probably went easiest on my stomach.

    I should note the “super” is sort of a misnomer. There’s nothing super about them. They should be called average nachos, but I suspect they wouldn’t sell as well. They’re average sized (meaning there’s a handful of chips, maybe two) and of average quality.

    Kris is knitting tonight, so I’m going to see Serenity, based on Joel’s (sort of) stellar review.

  5. Jeff says:

    I hate movie theaters for the very things you describe. My home-theater system may have cost me a pretty penny initially, but I figure waiting for the DVD will save me money in the long run…

  6. Lynn says:

    The Fly Lady (read more at http://www.flylady.net/) says that you should set the kitchen timer when you start a task such as sweeping the Library floor. This keeps you from getting preoccupied because you are racing against the clock. Then, you can set the timer to allow yourself time on the internet or reading your books as a break between these tasks. I like it – it works for me!

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