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Cinema Popcorn

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A trip to the movies is generally considered incomplete without partaking in the ritual consumption of a fizzy drink and some cinema popcorn.

The range of fizzy drink flavours is likely to be quite extensive. This not so for cinema popcorn - typically the only choice will be between either sweet or salt.

It is usual for cinema popcorn to be sold in several sized containers named something like: 'small', 'regular', 'large' and 'extra large'. These names are misnomers. More accurate terms would be: 'large', 'very large', 'exceptionally large' and 'stupidly huge', respectively.

Cinema popcorn is sold in such enormous portions because people will buy such enormous portions.

Cinema popcorn is not heavy; if ants can carry 100 times their own weight, then a single ant could probably make off with three cubic feet of popcorn without much of a struggle. Consequently, you might think getting your 'large' portion of cinema popcorn back to your seat an easy task, but you will be lucky if you manage to achieve this with as much as 40% remaining, the rest of which will have been spilled.

Common ways to spill or lose your cinema popcorn:

  • Moving

    Absolutely any bodily motion at all will result in some degree of popcorn spillage; this is an immutable law.

  • Standing Still

    If you are using one hand to hold your fizzy drink and your other hand to hold your cinema popcorn, you are obviously unable to use either of them to hold much else. This means that any other belongings you may have with you (coats, shopping, handbags, umbrellas) are likely to be jammed under arms, slung over shoulders, balanced on your head, wedged between your chest and chin or even clamped between your knees. Just achieving and maintaining such a precarious arrangement will, undoubtedly, allow the escape of some of the popcorn.

  • Paying

    Paying for your cinema popcorn will cause kernel loss because your money (or other method of payment) will be in the most inaccessible pocket/bag that you're carrying, necessitating a major inventory reshuffle to get to it.

  • Theft

    Companions who have joined you on your cinema trip, strangers passing by and even cinema employees, will happily help themselves to your popcorn because you are helpless to stop them for fear of dropping any more of your precious cargo.

  • Collisions

    Cinema popcorn spill due to collisions is inevitable, the most common collision is with a small, sticky, fast moving creature known as a 'child'.

  • Ticket Inspection

    Pretty much the same inventory reshuffling process as paying will be required to get to your ticket. However this time there is unlikely to be a counter-top to put things on during your reshuffle.

    [Tip: It's often a good idea when paying for your cinema popcorn to get your ticket ready and hold it between your teeth, thus reducing popcorn spillage at this point].

  • Opening the Doors

    Doors to the separate screens in cinemas always have the following attributes:

    • They are thick and heavy to insulate sound.
    • They are opaque (typically achieved by being made of wood and having no windows) to insulate light.
    • They are sprung so that they automatically close themselves.
    • There are two sets, one behind the other, for further sound and light insulation.
    • They always open outward from the screen itself. This is to prevent anybody being crushed during the mass exodus five minutes before the end of any movie when 95% of the audience suddenly decides to leave at once.

    If popcorn spillage is your only loss whilst battling to open these doors with your one spare finger, then count yourself lucky.

  • Eating It

    The most common method of eating cinema popcorn is to reach into the container, grab a handful and then transfer that handful to your mouth. This transfer process will, generally, involve dropping about 20% of the popcorn.

  • Package Collapse

    Cinema popcorn is commonly packaged in either a bag or an origami-like piece of cardboard that folds out to become a container. When the amount of popcorn left in the container goes below a certain threshold, the whole thing collapses and empties itself onto your lap and the floor.

After the movie has finished and the cinema lights up, you will see that you are wearing a surprising amount of popcorn about your person. A quick brush down will remove most of this, but cinema popcorn is persistent: you will be finding pieces of popcorn in obscure folds of your clothing for several more hours and two days after your visit to the cinema you will still be picking that last piece of kernel shell from between your teeth.

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