I’m prone to two things: becoming completely absorbed in great stories, and injuring myself in stupid ways.
The column I wrote yesterday for Dear Reader explains how, as a grown woman, I hurt myself playing kick the can. And a few years back, I broke my ankle at the gym when I fell off an elliptical trainer. Grace and coordination look at me from afar, and laugh.
But until Sunday night, I thought I would be safe sitting on my sofa watching television.
The Husband and I have been binge-watching Breaking Bad, the show about an Albuquerque chemistry teacher who, diagnosed with lung cancer, starts cooking methamphetamine to provide for his family after he dies. Yeah, that’s how it starts. But anybody who’s watched more than a few episodes knows that Walter White’s tale swells into a gut-twisting epic of Shakespearean proportions. Hell, last week’s episode was titled “Ozymandias,” after the poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley. That allusion is chillingly apt. (“…On the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.”)
The show also features standoffs, murder plots, betrayals, explosions, poisonings, and occasional gunfire. It is, as they say, hella tense.
Yeah. Last night I learned that when you wave your arms wildly while watching a particularly suspenseful episode, crying, “Something bad’s gonna happen, something bad’s gonna happen…” something bad does happen. I waved my arms so effusively that I jabbed myself in the eye.
Yes, I scratched my cornea by gesticulating like a crazy person and screaming at my television: “Hank! Walt! Jesse! Look out!” And yes, explaining that to the emergency room nurse was embarrassing.
Here are words I never expected to hear about myself while waiting in an ER at 12:30 am: “Which room is the Breaking Bad woman?”
On the bright side: I got a tetanus booster. And if I promise to put socks on my hands while watching Breaking Bad from now on, they won’t make me wear a satellite cone around my neck.
The episode that caused me to suffer the self-inflicted TV injury was “To’hajiilee.” If you haven’t seen it yet, stick your hands in your pockets when you watch. If I can save just one person from jabby hand syndrome, it’ll be worth it.
As for any writers out there: Look on the works of Breaking Bad, ye authors, and aspire.