Thursday, June 11, 2015

Just Fine

Several weeks ago I found myself standing in line at the local Walgreens waiting for a pharmacy refill. As I waited for the next available associate, I could not help but overhear the phone conversation of the pharmacy tech directly in front of me. She was calling someone about a refill and toward the end of the conversation she said, “That will be just fine.”

The moment might have passed unnoticed except the gentleman behind me in line began parroting the statement with a strange inflection. Over and over in a deep baritone, he would say, “That will be juuuust…fine…….” He would occasionally pause between repetitions to chuckle in amusement and then continue the mantra.

After a disturbing amount of time, he leaned forward so that he was almost over my shoulder and said, “Hey man. You remember that?” Since we were the only two people in line I knew he was addressing me and I had no choice but to turn around. I found myself facing a stocky gentleman in his twenties wearing a backpack. His demeanor indicated that he still wanted me to answer the question and I was unsure how to respond since I could interpret his inquiry a number of ways:

1.      He was asking if I am lucid enough to recall the pharmacy tech utilizing the phrase just 30 seconds ago.
2.       Do I remember him saying it over and over again until I wish I had never switched pharmacies?
3.      Did the two of us have had a prior encounter in which the phrase played some significance?

Just as I was contemplating which answer would be the least likely to prolong the interaction, his face lit up in anticipation and he said, “Darkman! Liam Neeson! 1990!” Relieved to at least have a point of reference for one of the strangest interactions I have ever had, I responded that while the title sounded familiar I had not seen the film.

Undeterred, he continued to describe the phrase’s use in the film until he introduced himself as Kirk. He also revealed that he was a small business owner who specialized in the “delivery of Hollywood hits directly to your home” and began removing his backpack. In short order he had produced a gigantic spindle of burned DVD’s and selected a copy of the Colin Firth movie Kingsman: Secret Service with his cell phone number on it. 

With a hint of pride, he informed me that he “did his own previews” and that had several theatrical titles available for purchase. Delivery anywhere within the city limits was just $2 and he often ran BOGO specials. After assuring him that I would “tell my people” about his services, he handed me the disc and I retrieved my prescription.

When I got home and relayed the story to my wife, her response was, “You accepted the disc? Why?” I replied that curiosity got them best of me and I wanted to see what he meant by “doing his own previews.” Did he add his own voiceovers to current movie trailers? Did he use Final Cut Pro and actually re-enact movie trailers in his bedroom? Was this an FBI sting operation?

Needless to say I found an old laptop, placed the disc in, and was presented with a scrolling warning against a red backdrop that read “DO NOT PLAY THIS DISC IN A VIDEO GAME CONSOLE!!!” I found this to be odd since you actually have to play the disc to see the warning and presumably by that time it would be too late. This went by several times until the message began to elaborate:

The warning was so comically over-the-top I was tempted to borrow someone’s XBOX to see if it would burst into flames. Finally, the previews began and they were for movies so new I am pretty sure at least one was still listed as currently in post-production on If the previews had been any fresher he would have been required to shoot the footage himself.

The film itself was clear and featured what looked to be Cambodian subtitles (although the spoken language was English) and I couldn’t help but admire Kirk’s chutzpah. It takes fortitude to hand-write your name and cell phone number on the piece of evidence most likely to be presented against you at trial. Even drug dealers aren’t that brazen. All I know is that if I worked for the FBI’s anti-piracy division this would have been the easiest case ever. I would just call and have him deliver to the office; and when I told him that he had the right to an attorney he would reply, “That will be juuuust…fine…..” 

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