EVERY once in a while I go into culture shock. I get a dilettantish feeling of guilt because I stay home and watch TV instead of going out to the movies. Movie people work hard. They pour millions and millions of dollars into making pictures for my entertainment and I hardly ever go. I stay home and either read or absorb TV shows that are not only the pits but appear to be a series of eternal reruns. This particular night my aesthetic taste rebelled. ``What is at the local movie house?'' I asked friend wife.
Dutifully she scanned the newspaper. `` `Day of the Dead' is at the Mall No. 1,'' she said. ``The ad shows pictures of skeletons rising up . . . .''
``Never mind. What's at Mall No. 2?''
`` `Teen Wolf.' I think it's about werewolves in high school.'' In my day we never had werewolves in high school, so I urged her to look further. She did.
``What is `Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome'?'' she innocently asked.
``Some kind of wild superman shooting up cars on the highways,'' I said, joining her newspaper search. ``Here, do you want to see `Rambo, First Blood'? That's Sylvester Stallone with his shirt ripped off, killing people with a submachine gun and hand grenades.''
``He hasn't had his shirt on since `Rocky I,' '' said friend wife. ``He probably does it to save on laundry. Oh . . . what's at the new theater?''
`` `Frightnight,' '' I said, ``and `Godzilla.' `Frightnight' is about some terror stalking a neighborhood just like ours. And `Godzilla' . . . .''
``I know Godzilla. He eats people.''
``He doesn't wear a shirt, either,'' I said. ``Here's something called `The Exterminator.' He kills people with a sawed-off shotgun. But he has his shirt on.''
``No. Anything else?''
`` `Return of the Living Dead.' This ad shows some half-skeletons, sort of hovering . . .''
``No thanks.'' A pause. ``What's on television?'' I picked up the TV section.
`` `Love Boat,' '' I said.
There was an even longer pause.
``Oh well,'' she said. ``I'll put some pizza in the microwave . . . .''