Nowadays, thanks mostly to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if you see a film in the theater you’ll notice that just about half the room stays as still as statues when the movie ends. For any comic-book or action-type film, and even some comedies, you want to stay put because surely there’s a post-credit bit of awesome, or some sweet bloopers running through the credits. The movie isn’t over when it’s over, it’s just dribbling away like those last vexing droplets of whiz after a night enjoying gimlets at the bar.
The future is going to be rife with movies that make you five minutes later for everything you do thanks to this phenomenon. Kids are going to be expecting it all the time and they will wait, reading the names of each and every gaffer, best boy, and second-unit caterer from Quebec where they filmed all those Bigfoot-takes-a-forest-bride sequences. I showed my niece The Goonies and she asked me to turn it back on after I stopped the Blu-ray so she could see the final scene. It’s in their heads and there’s no getting it out. But also, don’t you wish there was a post-credit scene in The Goonies and it was just Corey Feldman singing “Ascension Millennium” with Chunk and Sloth? Because I wish that.
There are two kinds of teenagers in the world. There’s the kind who are self-assured, know everything, and are featured in PSAs on how to be awesome — drag-racing and smoking that reefer. And then there’s the kind I was. I can’t speak to that other kid in his varsity jacket and five-o’clock shadow, which, in retrospect, might be just the memory of a few high-school sex comedies I saw in the 80s and not a real thing, but never mind that. I can speak to the gut-butt-fucking fear I felt as a 14-year-old calling the girl I liked from French class and having her mom answer the phone.
I can’t even think of the last time I called any individual and got anyone else answering the phone. If you called someone now and someone else answered, your first instinct is either their phone was stolen or they’re dead. The days of having a house phone are drawing to a close and even if you have a landline, you probably have a cell phone anyway and that’s how people call you. No high-school kid is calling their friend’s house and getting stuck chatting to Mrs. Friend’s Mom.
In a reasonable world it wouldn’t matter if you had to talk on the phone to a person’s mom for 30 seconds, but that’s not the world a teenager lives in. Getting mom or dad on the phone is psychologically on par with being caught masturbating. It’s harrowing and earth shattering in ways that are hard to account for and the children of tomorrow have no idea how lucky they are that human interaction is so limited now. You don’t have to talk to the pizza place if you don’t want to, you don’t have to go to the bank to pay your bills, and you never have to talk to that hot girl’s mom knowing full well that she knows you’ve been staring at her daughter’s exposed bra strap in the back of second period every goddamn day.