Perhaps the most poignant detail from Anne-Marie Slaughter's Atlantic cover story, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," was also one of the smallest: an overworked mother of three who "organized her time so ruthlessly that she always keyed in 1:11 or 2:22 or 3:33 on the microwave rather than 1:00, 2:00, or 3:00, because hitting the same number three times took less time."I'd call it nuts rather than poignant, but why focus on other people's stressed-out lives when you just might have a few stressors of your own? Jenny Allen's "What I've Learned" in The New Yorker (behind paywall, sorry) this week points out the much bigger bullets that you can dodge if you pay attention at the movies:
I am certainly not going back into the house where something bad or creepy has happened to me already.
I am never going to a carnival or a fair, particularly if there is happy calliope music playing.
If I become an astronaut, am I leaving the spaceship under any circumstances? No, I am not--not to fix anything on the outside of the spaceship while tethered to it by one not-that-strong cord; not to explore the terrain of the planet we land on, a dusty place that looks like it has no life forms but surely will have, ones that do not wish me well.
I am never going to remain sitting or standing next to anyone who is coughing innocently. There are no innocent coughs, only ones that signal imminent pandemics.So what do you learn if you go by the laws of old (rather than recent) movies?
If you are one of three young women in a movie, choose your friends very carefully. One of you will go to the bad to provide an object lesson for the others. If you don't know who the bad girl is, it could be you.
Do not believe the promises of handsome gangsters (Three on a Match) and especially not those of wealthy, Ivy-educated men (Our Blushing Brides, Where the Boys Are, The Best of Everything). They do not have marriage on their minds, and they do not wish you well.
If you are an animal in a movie, beware, especially if you are a beloved and cuddly pet. For plot purposes, your life is about as safe as if you live in Westeros.What have you learned from the movies?