Hoping for Hollywood Type Finish

By Woods, Mark | The Florida Times Union, June 30, 2010 | Go to article overview

Hoping for Hollywood Type Finish


Woods, Mark, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Mark Woods

Darnell Baxter Jr., a 22-year-old Marine, is going to be deployed again soon.

So when he and his girlfriend flew from California back to his hometown of Jacksonville, he wanted to relax and take her to a movie.

For most of us, going to a movie theater is no big deal. For Baxter, it's always a potential ordeal.

He has Tourette's syndrome, a disorder that includes a vocal tic. In his case, it sounds kind of like a loud hiccup.

It started when he was 18, shortly after boot camp. It got worse when he went to Iraq. At first he thought it might be allergies, or perhaps something in his head. Whatever it was, he knew he couldn't stop doing it.

He eventually was diagnosed with Tourette's. He has tried several different medications, but so far has had little success curtailing the symptoms.

It hasn't prevented him from serving in the military. But it has led to frustration when he tries to do things the rest of us take for granted. Like see a movie.

"When people ask me if want to go to one, I usually just come up with an excuse and wait until it comes out on DVD," he said. "But I just wanted to have a good time with my girlfriend while in Florida."

He's a big fan of "The Karate Kid." So they decided to see the latest film at the AMC Regency 24 theaters. He chose a Sunday night show, partly because he thought it would be less crowded than on a Friday or Saturday. When seats near them in the back of the theater began to fill, they moved to the front row.

Midway through the movie, a security guard approached him and said they were getting complaints about the noises he was making. He was going to have to leave. After Baxter explained that he had Tourette's, the security guard said he could stay. …

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