‘Caddyshack’ and subterfuge | AspenTimes.com

‘Caddyshack’ and subterfuge

When I signed up for my free month of Netflix about a year ago I was so very excited. Clicking through their list of available DVDs revealed cool, old sci-fi films, Frank Zappa videos, all the Monty Python movies, Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, Bettie Page – everything a guy could want from a DVD catalogue. This, I thought, will change my life. And I was right.In case you don’t know how Netflix works, here’s a little mini-tutorial: You are allowed to have three DVDs at any given time. They are mailed directly to you from the Netflix Mega-Warehouse. When you mail one back, they send you the next one on your list. If you mail all three back, they send you the next three on your list. What list? Well, the one you create at their website. You choose from what must be hundreds of thousands of movie titles, and you create your own personalized little queue which you can change anytime you are online, from any computer. Even if – and this is the part I didn’t really think through – you are my wife, sitting in the next room, on your very own computer. I could have taken the low road. I could have spun some technobabble tale of how a knowledge of HTML is necessary to hack your way through the Netflix cyber-jungle to find your next movie. I could have offered to look up movies for her and then claimed that they don’t actually have them, and then gone ahead and ordered the Criterion Collection of “The Bad News Bears.”I could have done that, but there are those who would consider that lying. Besides, I knew she’d figure it out eventually.But I could have held out a bit longer. I could have kept my grip on the glory days of my very own Netflix for a little while before I gave away the keys to the kingdom.”Look,” I said a few minutes after signing up. “It’s easy. You just click on the movie you want and it puts it in line for you. So, you can see that I already have ‘Caddyshack,’ ‘Meatballs’ and ‘Stripes’ at the top of our queue.””What if you change your mind?” she asked. “Can you move things ahead of the line so that they come first?”This should have been a clue.”Well, sure … but I’m not sure why you’d want to. I mean, like I said, I already have Caddyshack, Meatba…””OK, thanks,” she interrupted. “I’d like some time alone now, please.””Sure. I’ll, uh … go polish the DVD player.”Our first shipment arrived a few days later. Each movie was completely devoid of a 1980s Bill Murray, and was instead chock full of Elizabethan-era costumes.I stormed to the Netflix site intent on canceling my free subscription. I found that my Zappa, Python and Keaton movies were now down at around No. 50 on the queue. The top 49 were now populated with DVDs by the likes of Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, documentaries on quantum physics, economics and the Kennedy assassination. Oh. Now I see how it’s going to be. Noam Chomsky is cool, I guess, but that hardly gives my wife the right to place him above “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” in the queue. In MY queue.I suffered through the costume movies and quietly returned the DVDs in the prepaid mailers, never saying a word. Later that night I quietly made a few adjustments to the queue.Three days later our new batch of DVDs arrive. No “Tony Hawk’s Secret Skatepark Tour.” No Bullwinkle. No “Twin Peaks – Complete First Season.” Just a bunch of educational crap about the world and stuff.From that moment on, the secret war has been on. Now each time we return our Netflix it’s like a heated eBay bidding war, with each of us jockeying our choices to the top three positions, back and forth, up and down, right up until Netflix HQ gets our DVDs and locks in the next three choices. We never really know when this will be, so it’s always down to the wire. And it’s getting nasty.”I need to check my e-mail.””Yeah, uh … .I need to look something up on Wikipedia real fast.”I need you to leave the house now. Without your laptop.”I may never get to watch “Meatballs” again.

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