Cinematic Emergency Procedures

By: David Jaggard

If you are a main character in a motion picture, please read and memorize these safety instructions. They could save your life. Not to mention your gross box office.

It is a widely-known fact that most emergencies occur in the well-located, trendily decorated and perpetually tidy home that you can somehow afford no matter what job you have, even if you are a policeman, waitress, struggling actor or unemployed. Research has shown that by far the most common type of emergency for people in your socioeconomic group is someone, or, of course, something, trying to kill you. Should you find yourself in this situation, proceed as follows:

1) Panic. Do not call 911. In fact, do not use the telephone at all. It will not work, even if you have just hung up after a conversation in which you conscientiously repeated everything the other person said.

2) Go to your car. It will not start right away, trust me, but, trust me, it will start. Drive to the nearest large public building. Traffic will be sparse. You will hit all the lights and find a perfect parking spot right in front of the entrance, two or three vehicle lengths long so you don’t have to parallel park.

IMPORTANT: On the way to your destination DO NOT under any circumstances look at any photographs of loved ones. In particular DO NOT show any photographs of your children or spouse (if applicable) to anyone else. This is a guaranteed death sentence. In addition, if the car radio is on and tuned to a station playing any of the following numbers:

“Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd,

J.S. Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suites,

The “Funeral March” by Chopin (if you are over 65 years of age),

Any popular song previously established by you and your spouse or fiance(e) as “your song,”

turn it off immediately. You might as well cut your own throat.

3) Upon entering the building, sprint to the nearest elevator. Get in. Push the button for the top floor and continue pushing it repeatedly as rapidly as you can. This will not make the doors close sooner, but it will ensure that your pursuer will reach the elevator at the precise moment it closes and you are lifted out of harm’s reach. For the moment.

4) Get out on the top floor and locate the door to the stairs that go up the tower. It’s there someplace — every public building has a multi-story tower accessible only via a metal stairway whose openwork design allows four or five levels to be visible from a single camera placement. Climb the stairs as fast and as noisily as you can. Your pursuer will be one level below you, possibly discharging a firearm, but don’t worry: actuarial statistics indicate that he-she-it has a 73% chance of slipping and falling to his-her-its death. And is a lousy shot.

5) If your pursuer somehow survives the climb to the top, find the door to the roof. It will not open right away, trust me, but, trust me, it will open. Proceed directly to the edge, kneel, grasp the rain gutter firmly and fling yourself out over the void so that you are dangling precariously more than 20 stories above the street (WARNING: you must have a clean criminal record for this maneuver to work).

You are now safe. Your pursuer will soon be standing over you, trying to force you to fall. Keep a rictus of sheer terror frozen on your face at all times. Look down at frequent intervals. Now that you have parked your car, the street will be jammed with honking vehicles. Within ninety seconds someone will arrive and save your life. This person will fit one of three profiles:

a) someone you thought was your enemy but, lo and behold, isn’t,

b) someone with frankly implausible supernatural powers,

c) someone you previously found ickily unattractive but whose subtly improved hairstyle, lack of glasses, uncharacteristically stylish clothing and/or suddenly revealed physique change all that in an instant.

After your rescue, no filing of complaints with the police, debriefing by intelligence officers or medical examination is needed. You may return immediately to your well-appointed home or be just in time for the wedding, life-changing date, pivotal business meeting or championship-deciding sporting event that you had originally planned to participate in when this whole mess started.


As a preventive measure, you are strongly advised to have breast reduction surgery at your earliest convenience. This will reduce your chances of encountering life-threatening situations of all kinds by 94%.


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