I’m sitting in a dark theatre, watching Bridge to Terabithia, enjoying a pleasant afternoon with friends. It was the scene where Jess comes home from the outing with Ms. Edmunds and learns that his best friend, Leslie, has just drowned in the nearby river.
Tears rolled down my cheeks, and then BAM! I got smacked on the side of my leg by my best friend.
“Why didn’t you tell me the little girl dies?”
“I didn’t know,” I replied, rubbing my leg.
She thought that I had read the book, but I hadn’t. She apologized, and I now have one free pass to smack her when I feel the urge.
Now in this situation, I didn’t have an option, but I sometimes wonder when it is right to give someone a “heads up” about what happens in a movie. My general rule is that I NEVER tell what happens next, mostly because I’m a big believer in the Golden Rule. I HATE to be told what happens. (I even hesitate to spoil Terabithia—but for this piece, it’s necessary.) I even get a little disappointed if I figure out a plot twist too early in a story. I enjoy a challenge.
Of course, there are exceptions. I wouldn’t knowingly advise someone who is dealing with a family tragedy to watch a film that could cause more pain or grief.
Discussing this with others, though, I am shocked to find out how many people actually WANT to know. There is a whole society of folk who peek at the last page of their books before they start to read! Can you believe it? Maybe you’re one of them. It’s okay. I’ll still love you.
I almost understand it. So many stresses these days make life hard. Stories are our escape. We want happy endings. When times are tough we need happy endings.
I would guess that most of us want to be surprised. I’ve seen the tee-shirts printed with “Don’t Tell Me! I Recorded It!”
I take spoiler alerts seriously, but I also have to consider a good smack in the leg. I know now that a few of you out there enjoy a story better knowing that the rug won’t be pulled from beneath your feet.
And don’t worry, I already warned my best friend about Old Yeller.