The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Mel White 

Extra butter and a diet Pepsi

On the Bright Side


July 20, 2019

Mel White

I love going to the movies, but I'm not sure I could tell you what my favorite part of the experience is – it could be the story being told on the screen, or it could be the tub of popcorn in my lap.

I really like the kind of movie theater popcorn you can only get in a theater – no matter how they package the stuff at the grocery store and try to pass it off as being the same thing, it just ain't – and I even like the butter flavoring they put on it. I suppose if I got right down to it, I'd have to say the real butter they use at some theater chains is the best, but the flavoring is pretty darned good and I like the way the Hitching Post staff layers it in an over-flowing popcorn sack.

I'm also one of those people who orders a diet Pepsi or a diet Coke to go with my large buttered popcorn. This act, as you might expect, sometimes draws strange looks and snickers. I know some people are just aching to ask: "Why bother with a diet soda when you're getting all that grease?"

Well, folks, it makes sense to me. It may seem a little out of sync to order a diet drink and then cancel out the saved calories with extra butter, but to those of us who like those tastes together, it works out just fine.

No matter how I try to explain it, though, I still endure a certain amount of teasing, and I suppose that's all right. Yes, I'm overweight. No I don't need the butter on the popcorn, but I like it and I'm not going to stop. The spirit of living for the moment just seems to invade my very being whenever I enter a theater lobby; I know if I would happen to die in a car accident on the way home from the show I'd be pretty darned mad if I'd skipped the butter on what would turn out to be my last earthly popcorn eating experience.

And here's a newsflash: I've never really thought of going to the movies as a place to diet. Going to the movies is fun for me, and popcorn with butter is fun for me, and any diet in the world can stand to be on vacation for a short while every now and then.

Actually, I will also admit that I enjoy turning the tables once in a while and snickering at people like a friend of mine I shall call "P". P and I went to the movies one night and I asked her if she'd like something from the snack bar. She said, "No, I'm on a diet," and patted her ample tummy while looking pointedly at mine.

I got my drink and buttered popcorn and P, who knows I am also trying to lose weight, wondered aloud why, if I was falling off the diet wagon anyway, didn't I just go whole hog and get a cola with sugar in it to go with the butter?

I actually laughed out loud as this question was coming from the overweight-but-otherwise-healthy woman who had just driven around the theater and surrounding streets at least 7 times to try to get the closest possible parking place.

As I see it, if P was serious about wanting to slim down, walking from the far end of the lot would have made more sense. But then she's in good company with other people I've seen come out of Rite Aid and get in their car to drive over to SaveMart to do more shopping.

And they are all right up there with the folks who turn down a morning donut in the office – because they are trying to be healthier! – and then are willing to wait several minutes for an elevator to take them from their floor to the one right below or above it.

I suppose we all have our idiosyncrasies, and I've decided to just enjoy and embrace mine. I won't make any more apologies or offer any more explanations for choosing a diet drink to go with my buttered popcorn (or with the occasional cheeseburger or with pizza...), and I won't expect you to walk next door when you can drive. Fair enough?

And then we can all feel a little superior to – and laugh and snicker at – another friend of mine who is overweight and on a diet and also an environmentalist to the ninth who will often go into the theater and get some butter-flavored movie popcorn, and then skip the movie altogether and just go back to her car – which she left running at the curb – to eat it.

© 2019 Marilda Mel White. Mel White, Tehachapi writer/photographer and co-owner of the Treasure Trove, has been looking on the Bright side for various publications since 1996 (and loving movies and buttered popcorn since the 50s). She welcomes your comment and can be reached at


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