If you were to look at my Neftlix queue, you would probably think, “Wow! That dude must really like documentaries and foreign-language films.” If, on the other hand, you were to look at the history of what I actually watch on Netflix, you would more likely think, “Wow! That dude must really like Nacho Libre and The A-Team.”
It’s easy to be high-minded when I’m planning out what movies I’m going to watch someday. It costs me nothing—not even five seconds of my time—to add The Bicycle Thief to the queue. But when I actually sit down to watch a movie—when we’re actually talking about 89 minutes of my life…let’s just say that in the several years that The Bicycle Thief has languished in my queue unwatched, I have watched Raising Arizona several times, even though Raising Arizona has never been in my queue.
This phenomenon is not, of course, limited to the Netflix queue, nor is it limited to me. Jill Phillips recently tweetered, “When I am at Whole Foods I only want to eat salads. And then I leave and then I don’t.” Exactly.
To my knowledge, this phenomenon doesn’t have a name. But it ought to. So I present the question to you, the readership of the Rabbit Room. What are we to call the principle by which Jill Phillips likes salad as long as she doesn’t actually have to eat it, and I like foreign-language movies as long as I don’t actually have to watch them?
Offer your suggestions in the comment section below. If you contribute the best name for the above-described phenomenon, you will win a signed* photograph of Russ Ramsey with very big hair.
*I can’t guarantee that the photograph will actually be signed by Russ Ramsey; but if he won’t sign it, I’m sure somebody will.
Jonathan Rogers is the author of The Terrible Speed of Mercy, one of the finest biographies of Flannery O’Connor we've ever read. His other books include the Wilderking Trilogy–The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking–as well as The World According to Narnia and a biography of Saint Patrick. He has spent most of his adult life in Nashville, Tennessee, where he and his wife Lou Alice are raising a houseful of robustious children.