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The Tom Files

As you go through you life you'll find that there are distinct personality types into which most people fit. While I spent much of my life in the shyer categories, prolonged exposure to certain friends of mine since college has given me the courage to follow in their footsteps and stand up for myself in public when strangers are being inconsiderate. One such hero of mine is my roommate Tom Maguire. Generally a very calm guy, he steps up when people get out of hand -- particularly in movie theaters -- to put a stop to their bullshit. Collected here are some of my favorite examples of his work.

Date: Friday, August 31, 2007
Place: Coolidge Corner Theater
What Happened: At a screening of the wonderful film Tron -- which took the projectionist 7 hours to put together, the Boston audience was being a pack of assholes the way they always are at late night revival shows, hooting and wisecracking at things that aren't even humorous. In Tom's words: After 20 minutes or so of non stop snickering...

Me (turning to face the offenders): What is so fucking funny? I didn't drive two hours to listen to listen to you laugh. If you're not enjoying the movie then leave."

One of the offenders was one seat away. She (and the rest) mostly contained themselves for the rest of the movie.

Date: 2006
Place: The Whately Diner
What Happened: Late at night after a movie at Cinemark Theaters in Hadley. We were having a quiet conversation and eating our grease. Down at the other end of the place, a gaggle of college girls was pumping quarters in the jukebox and singing loudly along with their shitty selections. If I recall correctly, Tom yelled, "Stop fucking singing!" And they did. You had to be there to appreciate just how awful the songs and their voices were.

Date: Spring of 2004
Place: Tyngsboro General Cinemas
What Happened: Tom went to see "a crap double feature of Man on Fire and 13 Going on 30." A group of moms and their kids walked into "13 Going On 30" twenty minutes late, then sat down directly in front of him in an empty theatre and let their offspring run wild. Tom stood up on a seat behind them, towering over them like a demon of vengeance, and let them know how he felt about the situation. In his own words, "I feel it necessary to mention that, though I did stand on the seats assuming the most ridiculous position I could think of not because I was really mad or anything, I just wanted to scare the crap out of the mom's as much as I could on the same level as they and their kids were misbehaving in the theater. In the end I really didn't even come close."

Date: January 31, 1997
Place: Framingham General Cinemas
What Happened: We were seeing the reissue special edition of Star Wars IV: A New Hope. Halfway through the film, a dude behind us simply would not stop talking to his girlfriend. In Tom's words, "I want to think I said something to the effect of 'I've been waiting my whole adult life to see Star Wars in a theater again, not to listen to you talk...' but I might just be fantasizing."

From our mutual friend Mike Manz: "After a few times in Boston when I thought I might become a shooting victim after Tom told someone to 'shut the hell up' I began to enjoy Tom's outburst in the theatre from a few seats away. But my all time favorite Tomism was when we were walking down the street at North Station and a guy was walking toward us. Tom very rationally considered the sidewalk traffic to be the same as road traffic, with left and right hand lanes. This guy was coming toward us 'in the wrong lane' so to speak. Instead of getting out of this guys way Tom stopped in front of him and proceeded to walk backwards in front of him until he decided to get in his 'own lane' and go around Tom. I laughed all day about that. Have Mark add to the list when they got pulled over by the cops and Tom wouldn't take off his sunglasses. That's a classic."

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