• Robert Saucedo

Friends Don't Buy Friends Full Screen DVDs

A long, long time ago, in a College Station far away, I was writing for The Battalion, Texas A&M's student newspaper. I was at the newsroom late one night when I started riffing on an idea for a Christmas poem dedicated to a personal pet peeve - when somebody buys you a a DVD for Christmas, but they give you the full-screen version of a film instead of its widescreen release. This was 2005, mind you, there was nothing more important happening in the world for me to write about. I checked.

That riffing became a Christmas poem that I published in the student paper. Our paper's adviser, the next day, had this feedback to share: "There's a reason papers don't publish poetry." Now, almost twenty years later, I can admit that he was right. This poem stinks! But whatever, it was to write and so, on Christmas Eve's Eve, I pull it out from the recesses of history and good taste to share one more time.


Friends Don’t Buy Friends Full-Screen DVDs

A Christmas Poem by Robert Saucedo

Every Aggie down in Aggieland liked widescreen DVDs a lot …

Even more than country-music superstar Willie Nelson loves his pot.

This wasn’t true, though, for the Grinch who lived north of Northgate.

He saw enormous black bars on his television and was filled with hate.

Come Christmas Eve, at the market the Grinch stood.

Lord only knows, he was up to no good.

His cogs were a-turning, his mind scheming a scheme.

He bought for his friends DVDs fully full-screened.

He clutched in his hands pan-and-scan gifts.

Paying for the abominations, he let out a sniff.

“Bah humbug to letterbox,” he snarled with a sneer.

“On widescreen a pox,” he let go with a leer.

He purchased full-screen, despite the loss of detail and depth.

For such a massive mistake to make, one must be on crystal meth.

“My friends won’t care if half an intended shot is missing.”

For the director’s consent, he was not fishing.

Jerky movements mar a pan-and-scanned disk.

The loss of story info will indeed be missed.

Without widescreen, 45 percent of the visual is lost.

Those “two black bars” are well worth the cost.

Letterboxing a film gives viewers the original aspect ratio.

Full-screen must go the way of Billy Blanks, master of tai bo.

After one hour of widescreen watching, the bars are soon forgotten.

It’s easier than you think to ignore negative space, top and bottom.

Despite a smaller visual proportion, you see more of the frame.

Full-screen, my friends, is quite simply not the same.

None of this concerned the Grinch.

Ignoring valuable facts, for him, was a cinch.

Come Christmas morning, the Grinch’s pals woke to presents a-gleaming.

As they opened their gifts, two words stood a-screaming.

“Full Screen” was stamped on their DVDs’ labels,

Their viewing pleasures forever disabled.

“What about the original aspect ratio!” His friends let out a cry.

“You stole half of my movie,” his friends sobbed, as they dabbed at their eyes.

Friends don’t buy friends full-screen DVDs.

The reasons are even obvious to even the birds and bees.

Come Christmas time, take note as you shop:

Nobody likes movies that come from the box cropped.

I apologize for any trauma reading that poem may have given your Christmas spirit.

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