Anyone watching Showtime tonight was assaulted by death in a one-two punch.
On The Borgias, the Pope was devastated by the death of his knavish, syphilitic son. He carried the son into the woods, envisioning him as a beautiful little boy. As Jeremy Irons began to dig a grave, I scolded my television and turned to my computer.
But then, on Nurse Jackie, the mean new hospital administrator was stunned when his drug-addicted son arrived in the ER on a gurney. I watched in horror as Bobby Cannivale tried in vain to revive his dead son. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
While I sobbed hysterically, Nurse Jackie cut away to a happy scene in the maternity room. In real life, we can’t cut to another scene. The attempt to reassure us with a birth, as if to say “Turn turn turn, there is a time for birth and a time for death!” was cheap and sanctimonious.
I think about death constantly but I don’t want it shoved in my face, Showtime. The death of children is literally unbearable. I realized that the specter of the shattered parents is what drives home the tragedy. The children have flown away, but the parents are left with eternal suffering.
Some of my friends and family wish I would cut to a new scene. One of them has even blocked me on facebook. What’s good on Showtime is less good in real life. If people could watch me on TV, they would switch to another channel.
My husband knew that the Housewives of New Jersey would make me feel better. We marveled at Theresa’s hairline, which threatens to devour what’s left of her forehead.
What would I do without my husband! We went to the Los Angeles County Museum on Sunday, and while we wandered through a dark spiral corridor in the Japanese Pavilion, he remarked, “This is kind of like Disneyland for adults.” Yes,” I answered, “if the Pirates of the Carribean was an adventure in dread, with no pirates.” He sticks with me through everything, all the adventures in dread that my life has become.