It all started with the date the other night. We decided on Meet The Fockers, and Chinese food. General Tao you make good chicken, but that's not the point here.. Back to the Multiplex, we were among the final stragglers filing into the darkened theatre while the previews ran. They weren't even at the trailers yet, but at the TV commercials. Isn't that so annoying? You get another 3 minutes tacked on to the 7 minute preview-fest with car commercials, gum commercials, we scanned the isles for a seat in front of the Fanta soda commercial. Twenty-foot tall Fanta-girls... Fantettes or whatever they're called, jiggled away in a tropical paradise surrounded by sand and palm trees. Then came the cheery pitch: "FANTA...A TIDAL WAVE OF FLAVOR..." "Booooooooooooo!" roared the first voice, "Yeah Right", bellowed another, "That's sick" "Oh that's just great"... "awwwww man.."...and within seconds the popcorn was flying and people were on their feet in a gallow's chorus of booing and hissing. My date and I found a pair of seats and ducked in quietly. We looked at each other, our brows raised in unison, and we shrugged it off. Out in the lobby after the movie, a crowd circled the manager who was trying to put out the verbal flames left, right and center while she doled movie vouchers out to greedy hands. I ducked in to ask what the fuss was about, only to have two ticket vouchers shoved in my face with a quick apology from the flustered manager. "We're pulling the ad immediately" she said over her shoulder to a nearby couple, "please accept our sincerest apologies...." I backed off and joined my date and together we took a moment to take in the scene. "It wasn't THAT offensive" she shrugged. I begged to differ. Yes and No. It wasn't offensive to begin with. The phrase "A Tidal Wave of Flavor" didn't have any negative connotations before boxing day when a tsunami happened to decimate a large population of Southeast Asia. But now, with the sting of tragedy still in the eyes and ears of the world, timing was the salt in the wound. Yes, I suppose that Fanta's marketing monkeys should have gasped and pulled the ad out of respect. But no, it was not intentended to offend. The commercial was probably produced 6 months ago. It was just bad timing, and the fault was to be found in the failure to react by shelving the ad. And people were getting free movie vouchers because of this, because they were offended. And all that it took to make it all better was some free product to shut them up, double-standards notwithstanding. I took one long hard look at my free movie vouchers, then walked up to the manager. "Look," I said, "I know you're very sorry and that it's not your fault," she looked at me, flustered and near tears, "So," I continued, "I'd like to hand these in.. and take the cash value, drop the money in the box over there for the Red Cross Releif efforts." Her eyes narrowed, "No, I'm sorry sir, these have no cash value", back to consoling the lineup for free-tickets. My date came to my side and suggested that I take my voucher over to the lineup for the late-show and sell it to someone waiting in line. "Five bucks," she shouted, "who wants to get in for Five bucks instead of 8.50?" Hands went up. I took a crisp ten from the couple at the first wicket and marched over to the drop-box. Inside out went the wallet... found a five, my date coughed up a five, and we matched it, dropped it, and turned back to look at the mob. The greedy squabbling had dulled into a puzzled murmur. "Five bucks!" someone else shouted. "Here!", came a reply from the line. The manager tucked the rest of the vouchers into her vest pocket and walked briskly behind the ticket counter, and into a locked office while the crowd met up with the lineup for the late show. Those walking away from the line matched five or ten dollars of their own and made a donation. I figured it was time to leave, but my date wanted to stay and watch. We'd done enough though, well in my opinion we'd done nothing but make good of a ridiculous situation. I mean, by the same token, how come sports teams with names like The Hurricanes aren't getting booed out after the slew of tropical storms in the Southern states this year? Why not make a real difference instead of pissing and moaning about our hypersensitivities? So what if that stick of Axe Deodorante you bought a month ago has a scent called Tsunami? Get over it already. By keeping those free movie tickets, I would have ducked the real issue while nursing my own greed. How about this instead: Instead of giving a dollar to soothe the ruffled feathers of someone who's offended by the mention of the tragedy, why not just send that same dollar to another person, like the one who just lost his home, his family and his business in the tragedy itself? With some coaxing and my promise of making some hot-peaches on ice cream for dessert, my date and I left the Silver City and tried to hide our smiles while I fumbled for my keys in the parking lot.