October 21, 2010

My Secret Addiction

Some people are addicted to drugs or alcohol. A&E's Intervention follows the lives of people with addictions, dramatically leading up to an emotional intervention with tearful and/or bitter family member begging the addict to get treatment.

Some people are addicted to stuff. A&E's Hoarders follows people who are addicted to hoarding every conceivable thing they come in contact with or can't bear to throw away, all leading up to an emotional intervention with tearful and/or bitter family members and a truck load of people to help clean up all the hoarded crap.

What's my addiction?

Well, this is really hard to admit...I'm an A&E-holic.

I'm addicted to watching Intervention and Hoarders.

Oh, yes. I need a intervention from watching Intervention.

It all started harmlessly enough. I was bored (or procrastinating) one night, flipping through the channels,  and Intervention caught my eye.

It only took one time to get me hooked. The rush of watching trainwrecks ruin their lives with the sense that I couldn't turn away was so intense. I had to watch more.

I started recording episodes on my DVR. The sick sense of enjoyment I got from other people's emotional turmoil was still not enough to break the addiction.

Eventually, I found other shows to watch. I didn't need Intervention as much. I felt like my addiction was controllable.

Then, A&E introduced an even more devious show. One that presented such shocking, deplorable human conditions that I couldn't help but give in to my sick sense of curiosity and fascination.

I became addicted to Hoarders. Damn you A&E!!! WHY!!!!!!!!

I think the hold that Hoarders has on me is even stronger than the hold that Intervention once held because I can actually recognize some hoarding tendencies in myself.

Maybe I'm just paranoid, but as I watch these people go through such anguish over throwing away anything I can't help but think how emotionally attached I get to stuff.

For example, I still have all my college notebooks. Have I looked at them once in the past four years? No. But, but...I might look at them someday. Maybe I'll need the information from that one psychology class I took sophomore year to diagnose myself with some psychological disorder....like hoarding.

I've saved coasters from random bars I've gone to. I've saved every picture my students have ever drawn for me. I've saved every movie ticket stub since high school.

I haven't yet accumulated so much stuff as to discover the flattened corpse of some poor animal beneath a mountain of garbage (actually happened on the show). Perhaps this is the real reason I watch this show. No matter how bad my pack-rat tendencies become, at least they won't get that bad.

Now to settle in to watch the episode where the woman has been hoarding plastic bags of her own feces for 15 years. I'm repulsed...but still can't turn away.

Damn you A&E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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