Hanks for the Memories

(Originally published 4 Oct 2013)

Early start to some of my scribblings today.  I woke up with a head full of thoughts which, as is the norm these days, just flash my through my brain like a mental flicker book with a million pages...although my little doodles never form a consistent story.  So let's try and make some sense of at least one of them….

It's safe to say I hate watching TV.  "I hate watching TV".  There, I've said it.  I've discovered that very recently and, other than movies, I have no interest in pretty much anything new or programmes I used to watch.  I prefer to read, listen to music or even just sit.  That said, the exception that proves that particular rule has recently been discovered and that is Breaking Bad.  I know it's just finished in the US and I'm a little late to the party, but it is truly a fantastic piece of drama (God bless Netflix!).

[Spoiler Alerts]

Whilst I can't relate to Walt too much; I don't have cancer, I don't have a Meth Lab - you wouldn't believe the Planning Permission you have to go through - but the part of the story I'm up to at the moment really resonates with me.  His brother-in-law, Hank Schrader, has been through some tough times and is currently rehabilitating after seeing some traumatic events due to his job as a DEA agent.  He's bed-bound, he's not really speaking to anyone about it, he's in a permanent bad mood and he's treating his wife horrendously.  Yet, despite the horrors he's seen, the minute a work colleague comes round his mask for normality goes on, he's cracking jokes and being the person they expect him to be.  Been there, done that, wore that T-shirt.

It's sometimes hard to watch as it rings so true.  Granted I haven't been through what he has (although I'll never look at a turtle the same way again!) but wearing that mask to the outside world is definitely something I've suffered through.  It always seemed more important back then to project an air of regularity to friends and colleagues whilst, to those that really mattered, ended up with the rough end of my mood stick.  I suppose it boils down to honesty, maybe even misplaced pride, on my part.  I'm sure if any one them knew the truth they wouldn't believe it.  I would spend the day portraying the side of me they were expecting but once I got home, behind closed doors, my wife suffered because of my suffering. Poor Hank's wife is getting the rough side of his moods right now.  It's hard to see it from her point-of-view.  It's hard to believe I was like that, but I was.  Sorry.

I guess the key word there, thankfully, is 'was'.  I've learned to talk, to be honest.  The lesson was hard but I got there....or at least 'getting there' and it feels good.  It's a shame I can't manufacture it in a lab, but my own supply shouldn't run out.