I try my best to keep the chronicling of my paranoia lighthearted–no easy task, when most of the twisted thoughts I endure revolve around death, pain, and horrible possibilites. Part of this effort has always involved the conscious decision to not riff on the tragic real-world events that occur to others. My paranoia is as responsible for this as is my belief in decency and decorum in regards to not exploiting the daily disturbing mishaps that, too often, are accompanied by the nearly unimaginable grief of real people, families, sons, daughters, brothers and mothers. Fear sells stuff–papers, books, shows, blogs, politicians, products of all kinds.
I want to believe that even as I seek to enlighten people about the improbable, albeit possible, and disturbing consequences of simply putting yourself out into the world daily, that I can do so in a manner that injects some sense of relief, positivity, and well-being into that same world, through my special brand of dark humor. I’m not sure that’s what this blog has been doing. I’m only certain that it is my intent, and as such, it takes a good deal of self-restraint in order to not turn it into something too heavy, exploitive, laced with facts, figures, and the haphazard citing of present-day tragedies in order to prove a point.
As usual, I’ve spent far too long setting up my head space, rather than diving into the meat and potatoes of this post. I offer many apologies for the all-too-frequent ramblings that proceed my point, too often found here.
Last night I was able to attend an advanced screening of The Dark Knight Rises. My excitement about that opportunity could easily be rated a ten of ten, and I made no secret of it either. Half-jokingly, I had referred to this gift as, “possibly the best thing to happen to me as a result of working in advertising,” and said so repeatedly to my co-workers and friends. I was grateful for the opportunity to see it, and even a bit tickled to be able and rub my good fortune in the faces of some of my closer friends who I knew could withstand the ribbing.
Whether or not the movie lived up to my expectations is irrelevant, and the fact that I enjoyed the experience held at the Ziegfeld Theater last night has little to do with my feelings about the film itself. It was just fun to be out with co-workers, my wife, and scores of other hard-working human beings, doing something semi-unique as a group–something that also didn’t involve hard-drinking at that–a rarity in this business when it comes to large gatherings. It was nearly as perfect as that type of outing can be, and was remained on my mind this morning when I awoke.
Years ago, right after 9-11, I spent a great deal of time going to the movies. I was freelancing (read mostly unemployed), separating from my then-wife-at-the-time, contemplating career and locale changes–and taking in movies that fall was an ideal way to remove myself from real-life in order to gain an additional hour or two of sanity each day. How much sanity was derived from those treks is debatable. In those darkened cathedrals of mostly Hollywood drivel, my mind often wandered to notions revolving around the ease of mass-killings that those places could afford. No metal detectors, no sky marshalls, and not even much light for the early exposing and detection of someone packing any kind of instrument of death. The film Scream 2, had already planted the seed of movie-theaters-as-killing-zones, and coupling that with the what-ifs inspired by the attacks on the twin towers has left me always, at least once during a theater going experience, wondering what dreadful things could happen in a cineplex if a psychopath put his or her mind to it.
I never stopped going to movies, but after an opening-weekend Inception incident at Union Square, involving my wife and a patron who seemed intent on stabbing us both to death amidst a small verbal squabble, I’ve refrained from joining the masses to celebrate the latest releases communally on opening weekends. Too much discomfort, too much friction, flared tempers and, of course, always in the back of my head: the very real possibility that some lunatic would decide to exact all manner of justifiable-only-to-him massacres there.
The latest Batman film, had I not been gifted the advanced screening thanks to Unilever, would have most definitely marked the first film since Inception worthy of definitely breaking my no-opening-weekend-viewings rule, and smack dab in the middle of whatever chaos you might find amidst all the revelry you yourself may be a part of today, tonight, and this weekend.
Facebook has been many things to me, and more and more often it is the proverbial messenger of bad-tidings. This morning it was via a friend that I learned of the last night’s incident in which a gunman killed 12 at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. I didn’t want to believe it, I don’t want to believe it now. It is no more tragic than the last tragedy, but it will be fresh on our collective minds and will re-open wounds that for many had probably never healed.
I’m not here to soap-box, list the pros and cons on anything related to guns, violence, and public safety, nor do I wish to join the countless conspiracy-hacks that will try to bend this story into something that furthers their own agendas of fear-for-profit. Good luck with that Alex, it’s worked for you before, I’m sure you’ll make a few bucks with it this weekend and next week as well. But, this is the second time in a week, that a not-even-remotely-close-to-random act of violence has left me deeply concerned for the human race, the general mood of a planet, and the near complete disregard for “live and let live.” Both, and they aren’t the first two, have left me asking myself, “Is a blog that dwells in potential tragedy, even one done humorously, the best use of my time?”
The answer today, as it has always been, is I think so. I hope so. I do know that as soon as I press the publish button, there will be a part of me that feels a bit of relief for having put words on digital paper for some people to see. I don’t have to understand why this works for me, I only have to let it work for me until it doesn’t anymore.
As always, I’m exceedingly grateful for your having put your peepers to my words. Thanks.