There should be a law against people who sneeze, cough or whisper during movies and the like. I don't know about you, but when I fork over hard-earned cash for a night on the town, I don't want my entertainment spoiled by someone hacking away as if auditioning for a cold commercial.

Then I have to fight to hear the screen or stage performers' lines. I seldom succeed, so I usually end up guessing the dialogue from the body language. Except some actors seem to have a narrow repertoire of facial responses. Smiles sometimes mean "Thanks, I am eternally grateful for your benevolence," but other times, the same physical behavior delivers an opposite message. Often I am midway through a Hollywood blockbuster before I know who to hate. This is too much like real life.

  Furthermore, I don't appreciate being in the dark. I already spend enough time there, searching dimly-lit theaters for dropped earrings, billfolds and various other trifles. (Surprisingly, there has been little light shed on this subject--I have a few 60-watt bulbs that might help.) Also, theaters do not cater to the pitiful souls who must scour the streets for parking spaces (sometimes during rain or snow storms), then locate their seats in nearly pitch-black theaters. The blind would have an easier time. But that's another story--and I have a few overdue book fines to prove it.

And while we're on the subject, please don't think I'm a stickler for etiquette. While I abhor sneezers and wheezers, I can tolerate whisperers. In fact, I frequently overhear juicy gossip and Wall St. chatter that could conceivably endear me to the paparazzi or financial brokers.

Still, that's not to say I condone that sort of thing. And if you'll wait a moment while I get off my high horse, I should point out that theater managers don't have the slightest idea how to stop such blatant (and distracting) rudeness. Apart from pre-show warnings to remove bawling babies and refrain from speaking during the feature presentation and photographing nude dancers , there is nothing to discourage audiences from chatting up a storm.

That said, I sympathize with theater managers. City bureaucrats have tied the hands of decent working people. No reasonable options exist for dealing with nuisances. What about quarantining the unhealthy in balconies or otherwise sequestering or refusing them admission? If it weren't for all those touchy-feely groups with alphabet names--the ACLU, AARP and NEA come to mind--I am certain most theater goers would gladly send bothersome seatmates to subways, elevators and funeral homes where they belong.

But that's so much pie-in-the-sky dreaming.

By the way, intermission is coming up and that means you know what. I plan to leave now and beat the rush. Too bad I have to step on a few toes to do so, but you know how long those lines can be. There ought to be a law!