Popcorn Hypnosis

By Alex Cameron

I can't help but be amazed at the startling capacity of human beings to enjoy salty snacks despite whatever dreadful occurrence may be flickering on the screen before them. Nevertheless, I found myself in that exact situation the other night, putting away popcorn in handfuls while intently watching a couple break up on the TV. It's upsetting the lack of ethics one can inherit by simply clutching a bag of Orville Redenbacher's. There are two conclusions to be derived from this discovery: A, that human beings are naturally vicious, nasty creatures; or B, salty snacks have the power to put us into a hallucinatory state consisting of barely moving, staring at the TV screen, and force-feeding ourselves. Neither option is pretty.

The truth is, human generations are consistently getting smarter and less paranoid than their ancestors. Fear was once a useful trait: Urg, when scared, would stay in his cave shivering against the wall; while unafraid Gurg would march proudly out of his dwelling and be consequently eaten by a dinosaur. Guess which guy got to reproduce.

Nowadays, for some reason, fear is disappearing. Horror movies that would have driven our great-great grandparents into frenzied, hysterical panic scarcely faze the younger generations. (Of course, any generation that was forced to grow up watching Barney and Friends would have to be hardened by the ordeal.) But this lack of fear is most likely the only way humans can survive living in this era. Back in the Bronze Age, the only thing you had to be worried about was: A, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; or B, no bronze. In the modern day, we can kick back and watch the ozone layer disappear, the polar ice caps melt, freshwater supplies dry up, overpopulation run rampant, and AIDS infect millions. Besides that, we've also got car accidents, drugs, alcohol, biological warfare and MAD to think about. The only thing keeping us from joining our great-great grandparents in their frenzied, hysterical panic is, simply enough, our absence of fear. And with daily horrors like constant celebrity news interruptions, it pays to be unafraid.

So munch on, creatures without remorse or sorrow. It's okay to have no feelings. No one will blame you for stuffing your face with salted snacks while Janet Leigh is screaming her head off in the shower. Just remember: if it ever happens in real life, actually take it seriously, because then you've got a real problem. Otherwise, just stay cool and collected like humans have evolved to become.

Either that or popcorn really does have mind-controlling powers. Come to think of it, I wouldn't be too surprised if it did.