This was supposed to have been something pretty. Something lyrical. Instead, I wrote this. I wanted to discuss everyone's inner darkness in a way that wasn't uncomfortable to read, but wasn't too funny, either. What I got was (I think) a chilling blend of gleeful malice and whimsy. I'd love to hear what you think of it in the comments below. Until then, Enjoy.
“I could kill someone here. I could get away with it, too.” It sounds like a piece of dialogue from Victor Szasz out of a Batman comic book, doesn’t it? It wasn’t. That was my own thought as I stood with my pants around my ankles, helpless as a lamb at slaughter, facing a urinal.
It is not something we like to talk about, even with those who think they know us best. “I know all of Tony’s deepest, darkest, secrets,” Chris would say. My closest friend doesn’t know the many myriad methods of murder that I’ve imagined committing upon him in my mind, ranging from hum-drum to brutal, messy to poetically beautiful.
I imagine he’s thought the same about me.
The thing about Chris is that I’m going to be the Best Man at his wedding, and damned sure he’ll be the Best Man at mine. These socially inexcusable thoughts of violence neither weaken nor strengthen our friendship; they are what make us human.
Admit it: you’ve been walking down the hallway and spotted the quintessential douchebag, complete with perfectly arranged spiky bleach-blonde hair, richly colored maroon polo shirt- probably silken- plaid shorts, and an “I just fucked your little sister in the shower” grin on his face… and you wanted to shatter his sternum. He didn’t do anything, though. He doesn’t even know your little sister. You don’t even have a little sister. You are just overcome with the animal desire to destroy him. Instead of committing a felony, though, you give him an outwardly friendly smile, nod, and go on with the rest of your day having enjoyed the moment to your core.
You are not unique in this enjoyment.
Most people reading the above scenario will smile inwardly and agree, but when asked, face-to-face and eye-to-eye, the majority will deny it and probably give you a confused look, pantomiming their best “How dare you?” look. It’s these private, dark little thoughts about one another that make life interesting, though, right?
Flipping through the channels on your TV, or going to the theater or bookstore, chances are high that you will find a few pieces of entertainment about zombies; zombies are very popular across many different mediums of entertainment, and have been for a number of years. Do you want to know why that is? It’s because of those private, dark little thoughts. It’s because deep down inside, we love watching Woody Harrelson beat the living fuck out of a zombie with a banjo; we love watching Mila Jovovich, sexy as ever, blow some mindless bastard away, completely without guilt; we even watch with huge smiles on our faces as Andy (the pony-tailed gun store owner across from the mall) shoots the brains out of Burt Reynolds’s head. If you’re anything like me, you’ve watched those scenes more than a few times.
I’ll be honest for you: in that regard, you’re exactly like me.
Zombie movies let us live out the fantasy of hurting that douchebag in more and more disgusting and amusing ways. With every limb blown off and head erupted in gouts of blood we see our own pent-up frustrations vented in ways we will never be able to. With every chainsaw ripping through and spraying masticated viscera from a zombie we see tattered shreds of that douchebag’s shirt, now a more macabre shade of red, flying with it. And it makes us happy.
When you get sick, laid out in bed for days, unable to do much else than to roll over so you don’t puke on yourself or switch the movie in the DVD player, you tell your friends and post on facebook that you wouldn’t wish the sickness on your worst enemy. But you would. When you’re flat broke and your car breaks down and your kid broke her arm and your power is shut off and your dog refuses to shit anywhere but the doorway into the kitchen and you found out your husband has been fucking the neighbor for two of the last six years of your marriage. . . you are stoic about it, you tell yourself and others that you’ll be okay; that life goes on. That you couldn’t imagine taking out your frustration out on your husband by breaking his kneecaps. Or by burning down the house. And that slut neighbor’s with it. But you could imagine these things, couldn’t you? Hush, don’t say it aloud. You don’t have to.
There doesn’t even have to be something wrong. It doesn’t even have to be anything big. You could just be having a terrible horrible no good very bad day, the kind of emotion that Limp Bizkit sums up by singing, “You don’t really know why, but you want to justify ripping someone’s head off.” Maybe you just don’t want to wait in line at the Seven-Eleven, or want to bask in the heat of flames crackling, and feel little burning pricks on your arms from the sparks shooting off something that was once very expensive. There’s a kind of Zen in petty theft. A happy catharsis in vandalism.
Men watch porn because they know they’re never going to have even a single night of consensual sex with any woman like what they see on screen. Women watch Nicholas sparks movies because they know that they will never so much as know a man like the ones falling in love on screen. We watch crime movies because deep down inside we want to steal, we want to burgle, we want to lash out at a punkass and beat him down for reasons we might not understand. We watch violent movies because we know we will never, even if given the opportunity, be able to live out the fantasies in our private, dark little thoughts. We would give anything to be ministers of mayhem and celebrants of sin.
But we can’t.
It’s not right.
So we cower. We stand at urinals with our pants around our ankles and think about how we could strangle that guy with our belt. Nobody would hear his scream. Just outside the bathroom door are thousands of yelling and screaming voices; what is one more voice, to them? We smile to ourselves and secret the dark fantasies of dumping the corpse of Johnnie Douchebag in a bathroom stall, wash our hands, and walk away from what we would consider to be the perfect murder.
You enjoy that little fantasy while watching Batman, only to learn that during that very same screening a short road trip away, fifty people were killed or injured by some asshole who couldn’t keep those private dark little thoughts to himself.