It’s weird how watching movies can make you think of things. Raiders of the Lost Ark makes me think of the Friday night my best friend and I ordered Pizza Hut and watched it. The Sword in the Stone reminds me of the time when I was stuck in the house because of Hurricane Charley and I watched the movie on a battery-powered DVD player. The movie Antz makes me think of Frosted Flakes, but with no milk. I have no idea why. The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl 3D reminds me of food poisoning. I’ve never had food poisoning, but I imagine it’s similar to watching that movie.
I recently rewatched Pulp Fiction for the … I don’t know how many times it’s been. Man, that’s a great movie. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. Anyway, every time I watch that movie, the quality of the dialogue astounds me. Tarantino movies in general all have that incredible dialogue that makes his characters so unique. For whatever reason, a certain scene always prompts a thought process in my head. This scene is the infamous “Do you know what they call a Big Mac in France?” line. Everyone and their mother loves to quote that scene, even if they haven’t watched the movie. It’s gotten to the point where I have seen a burger called the “Royale with cheese” on multiple restaurant menus. But watching it makes me think about the naming of different foods and drinks. It reminds me of the greatest tragedy that exists in the beverage industry. That is, the nomenclature of brewed leaf-extract beverages (i.e. tea).
How passionate can one really be about tea? That’s a dumb question. We live in Boston for God’s sake! They threw some big party about tea here a few years ago (and from what I’ve heard it was quite the rager). I feel justified in my utter contempt for the way this country treats tea and I think the Sons of Liberty would have my back.
Allow me to set the scene. I walk into a restaurant and I’m seated. The server comes over to ask me for my drink order. I say, “Iced tea, please,” and I am immediately assaulted with the travesty that is the following question: “Sweet or unsweet?”
This question does not make sense. I repeat, it does not make sense. “Sweet.” Yes, that is a word and it is a possible modifier for “iced tea.” Moving on. “Or.” Alright, yes conjunction junction I know your function. But not this atrocious perversion of the English language. “Unsweet,” short for “unsweetened.” No. Wrong. This is not a word and it has nothing to do with my desired beverage. “But Jacob, clearly the server just means tea with or without sugar.” I know that, dear reader, but it’s the principle of the thing. The word “unsweetened” means that someone would have to put sugar in the tea (sweetening it) and then use some sort of device to then remove the sugar (unsweetening it). This is obviously not what is happening here. The addition of modifying words is only required when there is a higher level of specification. “Tea” implies hot water with leaf extract in it—nothing else. “Iced tea” means that the aforementioned brew is served cold. “Sweet iced tea” should be the longest name for tea available. You cannot do anything else to the tea at this point. “Unsweetened iced tea” is not only incorrect, it takes longer to say. This word confers no benefit. Not on the speaker, not on the listener, and not on society.
But circling back, the point of this column is to discuss how movies can make you think of things that have almost nothing to do with the movie. Perhaps it was where you first watched the movie, or who you watched it with. Maybe it just conjures a sensation or thought from the recesses of your mind. For me, a lot of movies have a unique memory or feeling associated with them. Happiness, serenity, blistering fury (looking at you Sharkboy), and every emotion in between. Pulp Fiction just happens to make me think of the crushing disappointment I feel when, in order to get what I want, I have to say “unsweetened, please.” I feel like Alice, trapped in Wonderland. I’m the only one who isn’t mad.
But Alice said it best. “Of all the silly nonsense, this is the stupidest tea party I’ve ever been to in my entire life.”
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