I AM A MOVIE-THEATER scofflaw. There, I've said it.
Now, before you go getting the wrong idea, let me tell you what that doesn't mean.
It doesn't mean that I go to the multiplex, pay for one movie and sneak into another, like some teenager.
I don't bring a camera and bootleg the film to sell in my local barbershop.
No, I'm quite willing to pay full price to see a movie. As a writer, I think I owe that much to the filmmaker.
However, I take offense when movie theater owners try to abuse me at the concession stand. And make no mistake: Concession-stand costs are nothing short of abuse.
The price of Jujyfruits at the theater is a grave injustice.
The cost of a soda is close to being unconstitutional.
For the price of a hot dog, I can eat a three-course meal at a five-star restaurant, and still have some change left over.
Those realities have convinced me that I can no longer deal with the movie-theater concession stands.
It's time for guys like me to fight back.
I'm tired of being taken for a ride every time I buy nachos. I'm sick of feeling like a sucker each time I purchase Mike and Ikes.
If I were an independently wealthy Web developer with a trust fund and stock portfolio, perhaps I could afford to do it the conventional way. But because I am a regular working stiff, I have been forced to look for snack alternatives.
What I've found, my friends, is the Dollar Store, otherwise known as Headquarters for Movie-Theater Freedom Fighters. At the Dollar Store, among countless shelves of cheap, breakable knickknacks, there is a veritable snack heaven. In fact, each time I enter the candy aisle, I hear heavenly choirs sing.
There are Twizzlers and Snickers. There are Raisinets and Milk Duds. There are Goobers, and Jujyfruits, and every kind of movie snack under the sun.
Best of all, you can get them at a fraction of the movie-theater price.
Combine those snacks with a bottle of water, wear an outfit with really deep pockets, and the working man can once again afford to go to the movies.
If you feel bad about bringing in your own snacks, you can do what I do: Buy a single bag of popcorn at the concession stand to ease your guilty conscience. Then settle into your seat, because every movie is better when the snacks don't cost you a car payment.
This is not for everyone, of course, but this is how I fight for movie-theater freedom. This is how I stand up for my rights. This is how I go to the movies and manage to afford a snack.
I know there are those of you who will condemn me for taking this stance, but I'm not just doing it for me. I'm doing it for all of us. I'm doing it so that one day we'll look up at concession-stand prices and see numbers we can add without a calculator.
I'm doing it so dads like me won't need home-equity loans to take the family to see "Frozen."
I'm doing it so that the tyrants charging us $5 for Milk Duds will realize we want to be free.
I'm not asking you to join me in this movement, because I don't want to see you embarrassed when the kid at the window asks, "Are those Milk Duds in your pocket, or are you experiencing Viagra side effects?"
But if you're willing to endure the embarrassment, if you're willing to go the extra mile, if you're willing to buy snacks from the Dollar Store, you can join me on the front lines of the Concession Revolution.
You can join me in making a difference for posterity.
This great American movement will lift all of us out of price-gouging hell. It will allow us to be free of overpriced candy. It will give our children, and our children's children, a reason to hope again, to dream again, to be lost in the wonder of movies without going into long-term debt.
This revolution will not be televised.
Instead, this revolution will be displayed in 3-D Imax with Dolby Surround Sound at your local multiplex. Bring your special glasses with you, because you'll want to experience it in all its glory.
Remember to bring your Jujyfruits, too. The revolution is much sweeter when the candy is only a dollar.
Solomon Jones is the author of 10 books, including his latest novel, The Dead Man's Wife (Minotaur Books), and the humor collection Daddy's Home: A Memoir of Fatherhood and Laughter. The married father of three has been featured on NPR and CNN, and has written on parenting for Essence and other publications. He created the literacy program Words on the Street. His column appears Tuesdays. More at Solomonjones.com.