Heroes? Stress? No, Not Me. Honest.
You know how in the game “Hearts,” you can name your characters? Provided that you’re playing on a computer of course . . . I always wonder what other people name their characters. When I was a kid, I played against Lucy, Peter and Edmund (I felt the same way that Lucy did concerning Susan). When I was older, I would play against Scully, Mulder and Skinner or Ratboy. Then, of course, there was the ever popular competition against Batman, Robin and Nightwing; or Batman, Robin and Batgirl; or perhaps odder still, *Batman, Joker and Two-Face. Plus, there was the occasional game consisting of me, Picard, Riker and Q . . . but that’s another story in and of itself.
Now, however, I’ve got it down to a fine art. My competitors consist of Batman, Hawkeye and Lord Peter Wimsey. Now, if that’s not a fine combination, I don’t know what is. This is not the time to try to convince me of any perceived wrongness either, I might add.
The Batman in my head is not the one from the movies–although I always thought Keaton was awesome as Batman, as well as Christian Bale–but rather, the Batman in my mind is (and probably forever will be), the animated series Batman. *sighs* That would be the one from the first three seasons of Batman: The Animated Series. B: TAS, if you’ve been around long enough. He’s the one that shows up in my daydreams (we’ll discuss those another day if I ever have a week where I’m doing absolutely nothing). He’s also the one that shows up in my dreams, strangely enough. I’ve discovered that if you get obsessed with something for long enough and seriously enough, those somethings eventually start making cameo appearances in your subconscious. Meh. I had a really weird dream a few nights ago where both Batman and Hawkeye were in my dream. Yeah, don’t ask me. You probably wouldn’t want to know even if I could explain to where it made sense. And I don’t think that I could do that. It’s hard enough talking to other people about things in reality, let alone imaginary.
Hawkeye has always made several appearances in my dreams. Usually I “wake up” and find myself in the middle of the set, only it’s not a set, it’s real. And from there, things get interesting. Strangely enough, I never arrive to find Lt. Col. Blake in charge; it’s only ever Col. Potter. Hmm.
I’ve had an obsession with M*A*S*H (the tv show; only the tv show), ever since we got Netflix a few summers ago and I resolved to watch ever M*A*S*H episode in every season from beginning to end. The great thing about the DVDs is that you can turn off the laugh track. I never watch it on tv anymore for that very reason. I own 9 of the 11 seasons on DVD and am only missing seasons 9 and 11. 9 of 11, 9 and 11; funny how those things work out. 9 and 11, btw, are my two least favorite numbers thanks to 9/11. Still to this day, if I happen to look at a digital clock and see that it’s 9:11, I get chills. No wonder I prefer analog clocks. *rolls eyes*
Anyway, I digress. This endeavor took me about a couple of years to pull off, since:
- I was in college at the time.
- When I started watching them, not all of the seasons were on DVD.
I think it’s because of M*A*S*H that I made it through college at all. I did my undergrad in instrumental music education, which, if you’ve ever known any music majors, should indicate just how crazy I was in undergrad. Put it this way: on average, I took between 18 and 21 hours every semester, which, since they were music classes, amounted to around 9-12 classes every semester. To top that off (as though I weren’t nutty enough), I was also a college marshal, band vice president, and in CMENC, SAI, Young Democrats, Alpha Chi. PLUS, me and a friend were co-conspirators in a effort to get a gay rights group official on our campus. I might add that I went to a small baptist college for my undergrad. The funny thing was that while we waiting for a chance to meet on campus, we met at the local baptist church.
Needless to say, this topped with stress induced/worsened heartburn, vertigo, IBS, plus Cyclothymia, GAD, atypical OCD traits, ADHD, and Asperger’s Syndrome (all of which were still undiagnosed while I was in college), made for some rough sailing. I’d have to say that my ability to perseverate got me through a lot of it, plus a general stubbornness on my part; and a great roommate/best friend and some caring professors got me through most of the rest. I might also mention that I graduated in the top 10% of my class, magna cum laude, with a 3.83, 163 hours and 76 classes under my belt (and those were the ones that were official).
But M*A*S*H . . . M*A*S*H taught me that I wasn’t alone; it taught me that there were others who had gone through hard times too; and sure it was just a tv show, but at the same time, it was more than that. There’s a line in the 5th season spoken by Sidney (the shrink), where he says this:
“Anger turned inwards is depression. Anger turned sideways is Hawkeye.“
I love that. I’m a smartass, and have been for many years now. Hawkeye is all of that and more. He’s smart, brave, considerate, passionate and so damned miserable and stressed out beyond all belief. And I had the stressed out beyond all belief bit, and I’d like to think that I might someday be able to list those other qualities as traits too. In fact, if I were to be honest with myself, I think I could say that I have levels of all of those traits now; it’s just that some are more developed than others. I could identify with what was happening.
More importantly than that–the show, the cast, Hawkeye himself–gave me back the ability to laugh and feel happy. It might sound corny to say this, but I think it’s more than just words when I say that M*A*S*H saved my life, in more ways than one. And it’s my greatest wish to someday meet or message some of those people and just say thanks, you know, for everything.
Lord Peter Wimsey is another I discovered through Netflix; only this time, it wasn’t a solitary venture. My mother introduced me to him and I found a new obsession almost immediately. My mother says that Dorothy L. Sayers (the author of the mystery novels where he stars as the lead private detective) was never married, and thus created this character to be the “perfect man.” I know, an oxymoron, but in Lord Peter Wimsey’s case, it might just be true. He’s smart, lighthearted, funny, sometimes childlike, educated (and dedicated to continuous learning through life), attentive to detail, observant, real when he needs to be, against injustice of any kind, and kind to strangers–especially children. Hmm, now that I’ve laid it all out, he seems almost Aspie-like. No wonder I like him.
2 different actors have played him (think PBS) and both did wonderful jobs. Although, I used to think that I preferred Petherbridge over Carmichael, but now I no longer care. They’re both groovy.
*I find it interesting to note that while the word “Nightwing” shows up with a red underline, indicating it as a misspelled word, “Batman” does not.