Junior, an important thing you must learn is that sin is not what you do, but where you do it”.

Once upon a time, not too long ago, there lived a group of people know as the Logicians. They lived in their own secluded country, quite apart from the rest of the world, and few of them ever ventured forth from their homeland. These people were a distinct race and had many fine characteristics. But they had one that appeared rather strange. It involved their attitude toward popcorn. They did not believe in eating it, they would not include it in their diet, and most of them had never tasted it. And they, being Logicians, had a reason. They felt that popcorn was bad for a person. It often, thy said, caused indigestion and heartburn. It made people sluggish. It was habit-forming too, and its addicts usually neglected more wholesome food. The unpopped kernels might crack your teeth; parts of the popped ones might lodge between your teeth, or, worse yet, under your gums, at least if you had false teeth. The older people, for the most part, had no urge to eat it; the younger people were forbidden to eat it. This principle of not eating popcorn had great influence and for quite some time was accepted unquestioningly by all.

It began to be a problem, however, when some of the younger Logicians temporarily left their country to learn a trade or to receive a higher education. For, in the countries around them, popcorn was a regular part of the menu and was highly relished. The young Logicians were often urged to try the popcorn. For a time, they resisted. But soon a few, and the number gradually grew, began to taste it, usually on the sly so that their own countrymen wouldn’t see them. They found, to their great surprise, that popcorn didn’t taste so bad after all. In fact, it had a pleasant flavor. Also, none of the dismal after-effects seemed to follow. More and more of them began to try it, and more and more of them began to eat it very frequently.

Word of the young Logicians’ actions soon reached their elders. They were appalled. But, being practical thinkers, they tried to find a remedy. No longer could they talk of the horrible results of such eating because the young Logicians would not believe it anyway. After much planning, however, they found a very nice solution. Since, they felt, it was obvious that the young Logicians would continue to eat popcorn, and since some of them also had an urge to try it, they said: “If you’re going to eat popcorn, eat it at home. Don’t go to the popcorneries in the other countries. If you must eat popcorn, you’ll do it under our supervision.” This decision made the young Logicians, and many of the older ones too, quite happy. Many purchased electric popcorn makers so that they could make popcorn in their own homes, just by plugging in the machine and turning it on. None of the older Logicians, and few of the younger, went anywhere else to buy it. They ate at home, and they all found eating popcorn so enjoyable.

It was very, very strongly insisted upon, however, that popcorn might be eaten only at home. Severe condemnation was on those who dared to taste it elsewhere.

“No, Junior, you may not ever go to a movie, nor to your class play. All drama is an abomination to the Lord. Be a good little boy and stay home with us and watch television.”

Originally Published in:

Vol. 19 No. 9 January 1960