Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
A remarkable tale of immigrant success, wrapped around a crime story.
On Saturday night I went to see "Twilight Zone: The Movie" at IFC Film Center's midnight series (35mm print!), with RogerEbert.com contributor Simon Abrams.
At the start of the second episode, Steven Spielberg's segment, a man came into the theater, sat in the front row,
and began laughing hysterically—cackling, so loudly that you couldn't hear anything except his laughter; I've never heard anyone in real life make noises like this man was making—at everything. Everything. Sometimes he laughed when nothing of any significance was happening. Also pointing at the screen. On some kind of powerful drug, listening to his synapses pop like Chinese firecrackers, I guess. Or mentally ill? I don't know. Not in control of himself, in any event; not in a mental place where he should have gone to see a movie in a theater.
later observed, at first everyone in the theater was too jaded or intimidated to
approach the man...but then
somebody in the second row leaned over and asked him to be quiet.
The man laughed hysterically at that, too.
The complaining audience member left the theater. Then he came
back in. An usher followed—a burly guy with long black hair
and a mustache.
The usher told the guy to come with him now. The man refused.
About two minutes later he came back in and repeated, politely but firmly, "Come
with me, you can't be in here anymore."
The man laughed hysterically and
waved his arms.
The usher gently but
relentlessly pulled the man out of his seat and dragged him out of the
By his wrists.
The man cackled the entire time. "Ah HAH HAH
HAHHHHHH!!!!" We could hear his laughter fade as the usher dragged him
into the lobby.
Then everyone in the theater had a good shared laugh of relief and enjoyed the rest of the film.
Afterward I saw the usher standing outside of the theater. I said,
"You, sir, are a bad motherf----r. I've never seen anything like that.
You should open up a school to train other people how to do that."
thanked me, rather sheepishly. As Simon and I headed toward the subway, he called after
us, "I'm sorry it took me so
The entire episode lasted five or six minutes from start to finish.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is customer service as it should be.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
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