About Me

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I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Spoiler Alert! - I DO Care!

This post is intended to pay homage to a fellow blogger - Matt Conlon. He wrote an excellent post titled similarly to this one; read it here.

Not to spoil anything, but the crux of his post  (at least the crux that provoked this particular post that you're reading now) is to wonder why a person might be reticent to "spoil" the end of a movie or book by telling how it turns out.

I'm on the other side of the coin from Matt. I absolutely hate it when someone tells me ahead of time how a movie ends, and I also hate it when people ask me what happens in a movie or in a book. I hate telling folks what is going to happen.

My lovely wife is one that wants to know what happens, and I hate to tell her.

I'm glad to have read Matt's post though, as it gives me an understanding of how other folks enjoy things. I think that going forward I will have less trouble in answering the "what happens" question.

But Matt also asks what motivates dolts like me to NOT like to answer that question; he asks:

What could possible matter to you about sharing a story you already know with someone who doesn’t? What do you get out of knowing something that I don’t, which I will eventually anyway? Do you get some sort of perverse feeling of superiority from it? Some kind of “I read faster and comprehend better than you, and if you can’t just do it, then you don’t belong in the “I know the end of that story” club with me?

I'll attempt to answer this question. It's got nothing whatever to do with a sense of superiority, or of me trying to piss you off in any way. Although, being who I am, I can definitely understand that you might be thinking that I'm trying to piss you off! :)

I like to tell jokes. I like to relate stories of funny things that happened. I like to think that I'm pretty good at relating things in such a manner as to lead my listener from one point to the other in a nice, uniform way that delivers impact.

I believe that a story should be related in its intended fashion. For a movie or a book, things take place in a certain time and way, and writers, directors, actors, and others work really hard to deliver their message such that it will have the greatest impact and leave you, the watcher or reader, with a certain set of impressions and emotions. The only way you're going to get that is to watch the movie in the order that it's intended.

As a "for instance", try this joke:

Once in a land far, far away there lived a group of people called Trids. The Trids were happy except for the huge ogre that lived on the mountain. The ogre would periodically terrorize the Trids.

"Silly Rabbi, kicks are for Trids!"

I have enjoyed this joke since I was a kid...something like 6th grade. Of course, reading it from above, it doesn't seem funny at all!

You can see the actual joke at answerbag.com.

How about the guy who refused Novocaine when he went to the dentist?

I ran out of chain!

This joke is on this page.

My point is that experiencing a story or movie in the order that it's intended is crucial to maximizing enjoyment of that story.

Matt's point is probably better: He doesn't care! He's right too: it's crucial to MY maximizing MY enjoyment of that story.

Of course, my lovely wife says that she would enjoy it better if she knows the ending, but at the same time I've seen her enjoy movies much better for sitting through them. "The Illusionist" (2006, Edward Norton, Jessica Biel) is a prime example of this. The very last scene, where Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti's best performance ever, in my opinion) is "putting it all together" is awesome. But, that scene would be completely trashed if I were to have described it ahead of time. I saw my beautiful wife attending that scene with great focus, and I firmly believe that had she and I discussed that ahead of time, she would have enjoyed it a lot less.

So, there you have it: the other side of the coin.


  1. I'm on your side. I hate telling (or being told) the ending to things, it's cheating. It's lazy too. It puts me back in school where all the kids who couldn't be bothered to do the work would badger the nerds for answers. So no. If you want to know something, read/watch it yourself, I say.

    1. That's TWO! Two wonderful votes! Hahahaha....