Miles Kington: Dating and the law of unintended consequences

After three dates, and three trips to see 'Titanic', you might think he was sick of it. But by seeing it again and again, he had begun to notice how film worked
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The Independent Online

Today, three stories for our times...

1. Alan, a young man who was a bit of a flirt, once asked a girl out to the cinema and they went to see a new film called Titanic. Two nights later, he took out another girl called Eva, and she was longing to see Titanic so he had to see it again. At the end of the week, when he had a date with a girl called Sylvie, he had to see Titanic for a third time...

You might think that by now he was sick to death of Titanic, and in a way he was, but by dint of seeing it over and over again, he had begun to notice - for the first time - how film actually worked: how it was edited, how it went from long shot to close-up and back again, how sometimes the dialogue of a new scene was heard fractionally before we saw the actors talking and so on.

The next Monday, when he had no date fixed, he went by himself to see Titanic again, to study more details... Shortly afterwards, he got a job in the film world. Today he is one of the most in-demand film editors in Britain, and all because of those girls who wanted to see Titanic, even if he never saw any of them again.

Moral: Go out on a date four times to see Titanic, and the only girl you'll end up in love with is Kate Winslet.

2. Once upon a time there was a married couple called Jack and Jill who did not go up the hill, but who went to Hill and Hill, a firm of solicitors, to sort out their will.

"It's quite complicated," said Jack to the female solicitor who saw them, by the name of Judy. "We have both been married before and have children by different marriages."

"Also I don't want to have to sell the house after one of us dies," said Jill. "I mean, if Jack dies first."

"Which I probably will be the first to go," said Jack, with more honesty than grammar.

"I see," said Judy the solicitor, who had heard all these problems before. "Well, what I recommend is making yourself joint tenants of the house and then setting up a nil-rate band trust..."

They duly signed a new will and went home.

"Did you understand a word of what she was saying?" said Jack.

"Not a lot," said Jill. "Did you?"

"No," said Jack. "I think we ought to go back and have another session with her, so that we can at least understand our own will."

But before they could do that, unfortunately, Jill took ill and died. When the funeral was over, Jack went to see Judy the solicitor to have the will explained again. After several sessions, it still wasn't clear to him, but by that time he had taken rather a liking to Judy and she to him. Within a year they were married.

"We ought to sort out a will," said Judy.

"It's even more complicated now than it was with just Jill and me," said Jack.

"Leave it to me," said Judy.

"OK," said Jack happily, for how was he to know Judy was about to leave everything to herself?

Moral: If you marry a solicitor, get a second opinion.

3. An American TV satirist called Bernard was appalled by the millions of dollars sent in to TV evangelists by the gullible public and decided to satirise the whole thing by inventing the world's first fundamentalist church for unbelievers.

He called it "The First Church of Christ, Atheist", by analogy with The Church of Christ Scientist. When people said to him that Christ had not actually been an atheist, he said: "Yeah, and He wasn't much of a scientist either."

During his weekly show, there was always a section where he masqueraded as the Very Unholy Brother Jonathan, and he even preached hellfire sermons against those who believed, and implored people to send donations to continue the work against ignorant belief.

Connoisseurs of comedy thought it was a good parody. And it must have been, because the public started sending money in. After three shows, donations totalled over $1m.

Moral: Maybe God has a sense of humour after all.