We went to see Jurassic World on Saturday, and something amazing happened. I became the old guy whom young guys detest.

As there were four of us going, and it was lunchtime and we hadn’t eaten, we got a big bucket of popcorn and split a big Sprite (don’t judge, that’s the only time we drink soda) before we found our seats. Because we got there early, and there were two hours of previews, we needed a refill of both popcorn and soda about 20 minutes into the movie. I was sitting on the end and was elected to go. “I’ll go too, I have to use the bathroom.” said Agatha Rose, our oldest daughter.

She went to the bathroom, and I went to the concession stand where all the workers were talking on the far end, except one guy. I figured him to be about 17. He wore his hair mopped down over his forehead and into his eyes. As I approached the counter with my popcorn bucket and gallon soda, he just stared at me. Now unless I’m at Disney World, I don’t expect great service from any service provider. Certainly not from a local movie theater. And so I stood there at the counter wondering how long this boy was going to stare back at me. It was about 20 seconds. My blood started to boil as our eyes stayed locked. You little fucker, I’m the consumer. It’s your job to serve me, I thought to myself. And the longer we stared, the more I realized that he was me when I was his age. Back when I hated authority figures. Especially old guys who had it made in life and who didn’t have to go home at 2 a.m. smelling of McDonalds. Back then, my favorite song was “You Don’t Have To Be Old To Be Wise” by Judas Priest. And I’m pretty sure that’s the song running through this kid’s head right then.

I finally said, “So yeah, I need refills.” Only then did he approach me and take my bucket of popcorn.

“You want -“

“Yes, butter.” I said interrupting him. “Please.” I added to ensure he didn’t spit in the refill. He rolled his eyes and I could read his mind, “Sure thing dude with nothing better to do than go to the movies on a Saturday and eat your weight in buttered popcorn as your arteries harden. You’re going to die, old man. Soon.”

At that point, my daughter walked up and the boy’s expression changed. Now while Agatha is 14, she has the disposition of someone a couple of years older. And yes, she’s pretty. She felt the tension from me as I stood gripping the soda with white knuckles staring at my antagonist. So she took the drink from me and started playing the boy. He handed her the popcorn.

“Thanks.” She said. Then she smiled, “And we’d like a refill of Sprite, please.” He blushed and flung his hair out of his eyes with the twist of his head. Girl, I could take you to all the movies, he was thinking–in my head.

I wanted to get angrier at him for looking at my daughter with those beady little 17-year-old boy eyes, but didn’t. Agatha was now in full control. He took her cup and filled it. “Would you like a new lid?” he asked her. She smiled and nodded. He handed the soda back to her and asked if there was anything else he could do. “Nope. Thanks.” She said with a smile as I shook salt on the popcorn with my jaw on the floor.

“That boy … he was being a complete jerk until you walked up.” I said.

“Oh dad,” she said as we disappeared into the darkness of the theater. “You just have to know how to use your dimples.”



Jim Mitchem


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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.