Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

When you’re in the thick of death, try to find God, not television.  §

I’m not normally a television viewer. Not for years.

One reason for this is the uncomfortable feeling that I am perhaps too drawn to it in certain ways. Not to every program, not to just “what’s on” by any stretch of the imagination.

No, something darker than that.

Every now and then I stumble across a program—or, when things are bad, I seek out a program—where the characters and the environs feel comfortable to me. Not like home, necessarily, but—say—more comfortable than my real environs and supporting characters at the moment.

And that’s when I try to move in.

I’m blogging tonight to stop, or at least, to interrupt just such a moment.

— § —

My companion animals—my pets—are dying left and right. Not from neglect, but from things like cancer that can happen regardless of the choices that you make in life.

The kids aren’t here.

I’ve had to go back to work after an extended break.

Things aren’t comfortable, to say the least. So I find one mindless show or another and watch an episode. And then, before you know it, I’ve watched dozens of episodes, and I’m watching them in multiples every night.

Basically, I find myself trying to move out of reality and move in to the screen, because it seems like a better place to be. Better environs, better supporting characters, different and perhaps more pliable problems.

— § —

This is not a good strategy. It’s not even good entertainment.

Do you want to know how many episodes of “Beat Bobby Flay” I’ve watched this week? It’s got to be 50 already, in the space of three days.

That has to stop, because there’s no excuse for it. It’s so bad I need to post about it here to really embarrass myself in hopes of putting an end to it.

— § —

Of course that means that I have to sit here in silence in this room, pecking things out on this keyboard and waiting for work to arrive in the morning, accompanied by a sick and likely terminal dog that I constantly evaluate for sufficient discomfort to indicate end-of-life needs to happen.

I have to sit here with my middle-agedness and my debt and the fact that there are no other humans here. No significant other, no children, nobody but me, in an aging house with only fading glories.

In the dark.

With my keyboard.

— § —

If I was going to be flip and cute, I’d say something after the above like, “maybe Bobby Flay isn’t so bad after all.”

But of course that would be bringing television back into things, because that’s the sitcom answer. Yes, it’s the answer we’ve all been trained by this point to give, but we’ve been trained precisely by sitcoms to give it.

It’s the Twitter answer.

We think we’re being clever.

In fact, we’re being pitiful.

— § —

Oh, there are pitiable moments in life. Moments at which your situation is bad and anyone looking at you either makes “aww” noises designed to express sympathy or they just slink off in silence because they don’t know what to say.

But those moments happen.

That’s a fact. This is one of those for me. It’s been going on for a month now, and it shows no signs of getting better over the next few days.

Yes, I could watch stupid television programs yet more than I already have and give stupid television answers in response to my own self-critical questions, but dammit part of the reason that this feels so pitiable is that I don’t have a lot of other stuff going on these days.

And you can’t fix that by watching television.

How’s that for a sitcom answer?

— § —

Now, however, we see what happens over the next few hours—much as I hate to admit it, there is the slight chance that I move back into the television studio for an hour or two until I collapse in exhaustion (funny how television causes that).

But at least I’ll have managed to interrupt it for a moment that wasn’t work or some other pressing, “have to do it so did it” concern.

In other words, I’ll have managed to actually live, if only long enough to type one pointless blog post out.

That’s something.

Actually, it’s more than I’ve done for three days.