The M&M Principle



As I poured my second cup of coffee this morning and waited for the microwave to put the finishing touches on the increase of temperature, both of the ceramic mug and the treasured brew that it held, I stood next to the kitchen door that opens onto the back porch.

I’ve often wondered about that door. Its center portion is made of tempered glass panes that provide a viewing portal stretching nearly full length top to bottom, as well as, spanning full width side to side. It’s often the last thing I remember seeing as I turn out the lights and head to bed. As stated, it opens to our back porch, which in turn, serves as the launching pad into the unfenced and heavily wooded backyard.

I can see through it, which plays with my imagination as I wonder about all the magical and terrifying things that might at some point be seen. What if I caught glimpse of something unnerving out of the corner of my eye, just as I turned off the overhead stove light before bedtime? What would I do? What would be my natural reflex?

Because I carry some transient OCD variant in my neuro-circuitry that determines whether my mind can be at ease or should be in panic mode, I often turn that stove light on one last time to make sure the door that I thought I’d already confirmed was locked is actually locked. It’s this mind game that I never win, which compels me to get out of bed on some nights, return to the very door in question, and confirm the locked position one final time.

But, what if I saw something or imagined that I saw something in that split second of instant darkness as I turned off the light over the stove? What would I do? How would I react? The chill of that thought has run down my spine a time or two, but it’s never happened and I’ve never settled on a plan of action. Would I scurry to turn on the yard lights? Would I grab a shovel from the garage and go investigate? Could I dismiss it as a shadow caused by the movement of a startled animal, a possum or armadillo?

Another thought crosses my mind. Perhaps it would be better if the door was solid or at least mostly solid. Surely a single 10 inch by 10 inch diamond shaped portal at eye level would work better. But then, what of the creepy things that might crouch below that pane and pick at the lock, trying to gain entrance. Again… mind checkers!

So what launched this Saturday Morning Ramble? It was the coffee… the microwave… and that back door. It was also a random thought that flashed through my neurons as the microwave counted down. What if one of our neighbors owned a life-sized cardboard cutout of Predator and decided (as a Halloween prank) to park it just outside that kitchen door?

I know… I know… that thought is a long journey from pushing buttons on the front of my microwave to heat my coffee for 30 seconds, but would I default to the calculated assessment of Major “Dutch” Schaefer and think out loud to myself, “You’re one ugly mother…” or would Kathy and I finally get to experience the benefits of that Aflac heart attack policy that I bought 10 years ago? Probably the latter.

At this point, you may be wondering how M&M’s factor into the grand scheme of things. Well, that’s why these are called “Rambles” and not dissertations.

With a hot mug of coffee in hand and Predator on my mind, I opened a Google Images search window and began to browse for an iconic image of that ugly mother… Among the returned images was a comic book cover featuring Batman vs. Predator, the 3-part series. 1) I’ve never read it. 2) I didn’t know it existed until 30 minutes ago. 3) I’m firmly convinced that it was a bad idea. 4) The launch of the M&M Principle.

Connecting the dots –

The 1987 Predator movie is one of my all-time favorites. It’s suspenseful. It’s creative. It’s creepy storytelling on a very high level. The sequel, starring Danny Glover? It’s just an excuse for 108 minutes of violence and explosions. Alien vs. Predator? An even worse idea. Never saw it; never will. And, Batman vs. Predator? Whereas I am firmly convinced that Batman is one of the most flexible literary characters ever born, he and Predator should permanently dwell in separate universes that never merge. BOOM! The M&M Principle is born.

There are things, not many, but a few, that should always be kept separate and M&M’s are the poster child for all of those things. You can mix M&M’s with anything, but they don’t mix. They remain resilient in their individuality. I like that about M&M’s. They just don’t mix. You can even bake them in cookies for Christmas, but you’ll find that their outer candy shell keeps them separate. They are the oil to everything else’s vinegar. Shake ’til your heart’s content; the oil will bubble to the top immediately – M&M’s will retain their M&M-ness.

Years ago, I wrote a short piece that three, possibly four people read. It included this thought:  “Certainly we need to practice the art of playing well with others. But if ever you blend into your surroundings to the point where you can no longer be seen and your individuality is lost, it becomes a tragic loss for everyone. There is only one you. It’s okay to blend in for awhile, so long as you never stop standing out.”

In the original movie, what inspired the unnerving squirm, was Predator’s ability to blend into the surroundings… he’s always there, but he goes unnoticed. At the end of the movie, once he was revealed, he was unforgettable and his M&M-ness should have been honored. There should have never been a sequel, never been a crossover with Alien, and certainly he and Batman should have never been forced to share a stage.
Predator… you are truly one ugly mother… you’ve also made my M&M List.


Disclaimer: Saturday Morning Rambles are not designed to be literary prose. They are random thoughts that pour out onto my keyboard over a 30 to 45 minute stretch on any given Saturday morning. They are not refined, reworded, or examined for any continuity of thought or purpose. I hope you can find a moment of enjoyment and appreciation in the rambling train wreck that they often turn out to be.


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