In retirement I frequently have a lot of time on my hands to do whatever I wish. The rest of the time I do something else but I don’t remember what it was. I recently and quite accidentally got into some serious ‘binging’. (Pronounced ‘bin-jing’, not to be confused with the Thai worm dish of the same name.)
First let’s define ‘binging’. This means you sit your butt in front of the biggest Screen you have and view every episode of a ‘Series’ available from start to finish using every moment of free time until the Series Finale. Sounds severe. Life is difficult.
A few years ago I had my first experience with what I would call ‘Minor League Binging’ when I bought a Kindle device which connected to my home WiFi network and on which I installed Netflix.
In searching the offerings on Netflix I discovered a World War II era BBC Series which interested me called ‘Foyle’s War’ which extended over approximately five ‘normal’ TV Seasons (one Season equals one calendar year) and included roughly ten or eleven shows per Season.
I liked the series and found myself watching one or two episodes per night in bed before dropping off to sleep. It took a while to watch them all. From 1939 – 1945 as I recall.
So far so good.
Next I found two other series I’d heard about but hadn’t seen. These were House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
I had one season of House of Cards to catch up on which I did using my Foyle’s War protocol (a couple of episodes per night until I ‘caught up’ to the current Season). This series is produced by Netflix and released for viewing in the U.S. as a complete Season. Ergo, once released it’s possible to view all episodes (without commercials) for the newly released Season.
Once again, really a Minor League binge experience.
Orange is the New Black is produced and released in a manner similar to House of Cards so I watched full Seasons on a per episode basis much like House of Cards. The only difference was I discovered ‘Orange’ immediately following release of its first Season and therefore didn’t have to play catch up.
Still in the Minor Leagues.
And then I discovered ‘Breaking Bad’.
I vaguely remembered seeing ads for this AMC Series on Network TV but it never seemed to interest me. Likewise, it seemed to me the Series was ‘old’ in the sense that I remembered those ads appearing for what seemed like a long time – as in years? Hmm….Duhh…
At this point I suddenly found myself in the Major League of binging. (It’s now called the Binging Major League (BML)- all rights reserved.)
One early Monday morning with time on my hands I watched the Pilot episode of this show and immediately I was hooked. It’s a crime drama which has been called ‘the best ever produced’ by some people who really know. I’m good with that.
The Pilot episode intrigued me and that first Monday I watched at least six episodes (at one hour per episode). By the third day of that week after spending eighteen hours of viewing on my laptop I finally looked at how much more viewing I’d have to do to complete the whole series. To my amazement I discovered the series played SEVEN YEARS with 12-13 episodes per year.
By then I was committed to watching the whole thing through the end as quickly as possible.
In all I watched sixty two episodes in a period lasting from Monday through the following Sunday, and although I was spellbound and really couldn’t resist NOT watching ‘just one more episode’ I realized I was spending up to twelve hours a day watching THE SHOW.
By the end of the marathon I’d learned a number of things about binging which I offer as cautionary lessons to those who may find themselves drafted into the Binging Major League (BML) – all rights reserved. (Note: Don’t be upset if you’re drafted in a later round in this one.)
Lesson One – People Could Think You’re an Asshole
To begin with, I quickly found myself isolated from virtually all human contact, save the absolute necessity of at least acknowledging the existence of my spouse, usually in the form of a grunting noise as she passed by throughout the day, making tsk-tsk noises as she came and went. (Note to self: Jewel/OSCO – flowers.)
I spent my time sitting in my easy chair with a pair of headphones on, stirring only when nature called (actually more of a scream) and stopping for meals when I felt faint.
In the end I found that in seven days I’d lost every friend I ever had. I even pissed off the telemarketing guys.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Lesson Two – You Probably ARE an Asshole
This will become more apparent as you grow older.
Lesson Three – Binging Ages You
Face it. In the end you only get so many calories to burn. And when you’re binging you feel the burn, baby. All of that motivation, dedication – the feeling that for once you control your own destiny. Sure, it’s a huge natural high but it takes its toll on you physically. (Ref: Need Ref: Pls sbmt Ref.)
So anyway, at the end you’ll probably be tired.
Lesson Four – If You Watched Every Episode of Breaking Bad You Now Possess the Knowledge to Open Your Own Meth Lab
Don’t try it.
It occurs to me that some of the above may sound, shall we say, perhaps – spontaneous. I’ll have to think about that.
In the meantime, I’d recommend you substitute the urge to binge with something less stressful and time consuming. Life is short after all, and as Mom said, “Too much of anything is not good for you.” (That Mom. Damn, she knew every cliche in the book.)
Consider watching reruns of Jeopardy – in moderation of course. Particularly those which you’ve already seen. Knowing in advance who wins is a great stress reliever. Plus which, knowing all of the answers in advance will boost your self esteem. Just don’t get too big a head. After all, too much of anything is not good for you. (I found that cliche book!!!)