F or the past two years, I’ve spent a couple of hours every night lounging sideways on my couch, mouth-breathing into my beer and watching people get murdered.
Sometimes they’re killed over a rare orchid. Sometimes they gotta die because they know the truth about aliens’ existence. Sometimes it’s because the zombies heard them shouting around a campfire. But they always die and I always watch, unflinching and ineffectual.
And yes, what I’m saying here is that despite the fact I have zero stomach for gore, I scream like a banshee when I see a spider. I also have a strong sense of right and wrong and I’m apparently addicted to crazy-ass television series with lots of blood, metaphorical spiders and severely jacked-up situations.
Maybe I’m trying to steel myself for the real world. Probably not though. Probably I’m just weird.
I began by ingesting 12 — TWELVE — straight seasons of the British buddy-detectiveseries, “Midsomer Murders,” wherein folks get killed for the strangest things and the cops don’t carry guns. In one episode, a man had finished drowning his wife in the duck pond, threw the young detective in the water and came at the old cop with a gun.
And detective inspector Barnaby shouted at him, “Enough! Put down the gun!” and the guy fuggin’ dropped the gun and held still for the handcuffing part of the show. Apparently British criminals are more committed to manners than avoiding jail time.
But once the 12th season ended and Detective Barnaby and I were not going to be spending so much time together, I became depressed — slumping through the hallway day after day, listless and drooling until the newsroom couldn’t take it any longer.
“Please just watch ‘The Walking Dead,'” said Christy. “It’s super gross. Like that well scene where the water-logged, rotting zombie rips in half. But I think you’ll be gaga for it after three episodes.”
“Yes,” said Pete. “It’s completely sick. Watch it.”
And so I did, but damn. Let’s just say zombies do not kill over orchids and they don’t care a whit about respecting law enforcement officers.
And when I ran out of “Walking Dead,” instead of pouting for weeks, I decided I should start “The X-Files” over again from the start — and I should start it immediately.
Over these past two murder-filled years, I’ve been simultaneously plagued with nightmares.
“What’s wrong with me? I’m not anxious about stuff; why is my subconscious freaking out?” I wonder in the shower every morning, and in the therapist’s office, and over coffee with friends.
Last night I dreamt I was riding a bike across campus and a huge wolf flew through the air and latched onto my throat but I couldn’t fight it off because I was too stupid to let go of the bike handles. I’ve dreamt of being chased by people with their faces ripped off, and faceless men in suits with guns and little old ladies with clipping shears.
And only this morning did I realize all the messed-up stuff in this bean of mine isn’t coming from old traumas or new anxieties, it’s from the damn television.
I should probably start watching fluffier stuff, like “My Little Ponies, Friendship is Magic” before bed.
I’ll do that right after I finish the last three seasons of “X-Files.”