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Steve Eaton: Why are there giant robot footprints in your backyard?

Published: Friday, Aug. 1 2014 5:41 p.m. MDT

Whatever you do, don't go outside tonight. Trust me. If you have to go out, just stay away from the University of Utah.

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It was not Gordi’s fault that the Zambonians decided he was the “Choosen One” to travel back in time and save their universe from the Klambidian DNA Clones; he just wanted to go buy a cake.

Gordi knew his wife Darlene meant business when she told him to buy a birthday cake and be back in 20 minutes. She did not want to be late for Aunt Emily’s 80th birthday party. Gordi was determined this time to be focused and complete his mission quickly because he knew how important this simple task was for his wife.

And yet, just as he was about to turn onto 400 East, his car was lifted off the ground and sucked into one of those dingy, awful Zambonian destroyers. You’d think Darlene would have seen something on the news about such a huge UFO appearing so low over Salt Lake City.

It took him two weeks to realize he could not escape, three months to get into shape enough to fit into his Zambonian fighter suit and one year to train before he went into the time-travel machine the first time. It was on his third time-travel trip that he managed to guide the Five-Year Clone War to a successful conclusion that did indeed save the universe, a universe which, by the way, included Earth.

Because time travel, the way the Zambonians do it, is an imprecise science, the aliens ended up returning Gordi back to 400 East 10 minutes behind schedule and by the time he got home, Darlene was livid.

Gordi, however, could not explain or defend himself. He could not just tell her that if it were not for him Aunt Emily would have become a Klambidian DNA Clone long ago.

Why couldn’t he explain?

Because Gordi’s life unfolded in a movie, and in film and television there is an unwritten rule that says that one character is not allowed to explain to another character something that happened in a previous scene, even if to do so would be exactly what one would do in real life.

Bruce Willis never explains things, he just tells people if they want to live they must come with him “Now!” And yet, if I go out to get the mail and realize that we almost forgot that tomorrow was garbage pickup day, oh, I’m going to tell my wife. She needs to know I actually remembered something that she probably forgot. She needs to know that I am a hero who only moments ago saved us all from a shocking smelly setback.

That's what happens in real life. People talk about dramatic things that happen to them. We are supposed to pretend movies are real life if we are to enjoy them, right?

I don’t know who to approach to fix this problem, but I think it is impacting television and the movies we watch in a very negative way. A little explaining goes a long ways. In the first Transformer movie, they briefly broke the rule and allowed the star to explain to another character that his car turned into a robot.

Maggie Madsen: What'd they get you for?

Sam Witwicky: I bought a car. Turned out to be an alien robot.

Glen: (whispered) Wow.

Sam Witwicky: Who knew?”

It was a very funny exchange that not only added some much needed humor to that movie, but it made the whole Transformer thing more believable to me. I mean, if you bought a car that turned out to be a giant robot named Bumblebee that stomped all over your backyard, wouldn’t you want to explain the lawn damage to your neighbors?

I’m a little bit sensitive about this because something really traumatic happened to me just a week ago, and I feel like I have to tell someone about it. You know those alien things that can come out of your chest? Well I was walking through a parking lot on the University of Utah campus and … ah, never mind.

Just don’t go outside tonight — no matter what. You’ll thank me later.

Steve Eaton lives and works in Logan, Utah. He can be reached at Eatonnews@gmail.com

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