[In the category of Apropos of Nothing, I present you with a conversation I had with a long-time friend while driving him to the airport]

Me: Have you started watching Breaking Bad?

He: No.

Me: Why not? I need you to start so that you can catch up to me so that I have someone to process episodes with because that is the badassest show that is freaking me out that I have ever loved and gotten addicted to and I can’t believe I love it and and I need to process. Like episode 6 of season 2. Can I tell you it?

Jesse Plemons on Breaking Bad

He: No.

Me: Why not?

He: Because I’m going to watch it.

Me: I can tell it very carefully.

He: No you can’t.

Me: Can’t tell you or can’t tell you carefully?

He: Both.

Me: Can I just tell you one itty bitty bit?

He: No.

Me: Ittiest bittiest bit?

He: OK.

Me: So a bunch of violent shit just went down, I mean, super violent, violent on steroids-violent, except for somehow they manage to show it tastefully and for the other bits I cover my eyes. Anyway, the shit that just went down leaves Mr. White and his young partner and slacker ex-student, Jesse, without anyone to sell their meth. So now they have to. This task falls on Jesse because Mr. White doesn’t want to get his hands dirty with the likes of drug dealing, he being, after all, the chemist who is “only” doing this so that he can leave his family money because he is dying of cancer; that, and Jesse being the junkie. So the opening scene of this episode has Jesse waiting on a street corner for a friend whom he has hired to deal for them. He’s standing there smoking and passing the time lalala when he spots a beetle on the sidewalk. He watches it, clearly mesmerized, then bends down and lets the beetle crawl over his hand. It’s a very tender moment and he is smiling, something he rarely does when others are around. In the next moment his friend-now-dealer arrives, sees the bug, and before you can even think “WAIT!,” squashes it under his shoe. Anyway, the scene is brilliant. In what can’t be more than 23 seconds we get a full read on Jesse who, new gun in pocket, is on his way to try to be badass and mean, exact revenge, and scare the shit out of any other meth-heads who might be considering stealing drugs from him and Mr. White.

He: [nods]

Me: OK. So that is just the start. Can I tell you just one little thing more please?

He: No.

Me: There’salittlekidandanATMmachine!

He: You are hopeless.

Me: You’ve gotta see it. It’s the ATM machine episode and it’s called Peekaboo and oh my god oh my god–

He: Hopeless.

Me: You’re right.

[A moment of silence ensues.]

Me: I need your advice.

He: Go ahead.

Me: So, in all my unpacking and paring down and getting rid of stuff I don’t love or need, I came across a bear. Not Humlum. He’s on my bed. And I love him and need him. This is another one. From my childhood, I think. Except that I was never into stuffed animals when I was growing up and I have absolutely no memory whatsoever, not even repressed, of any kind of sweetness between me and this bear but he is well worn and over the years I keep moving him with me and every time I unpack him I don’t want to have him out because he makes me sad and one time I had to glue his eye back on because it had fallen off and I just don’t know what to do with him. Again. And I don’t want to ever unpack him and have to consider what to do with him again.

He: Is he in good enough shape to give to a kid?

Me: Nope. Not at all. But when I think of just throwing him away I can’t. It’d be like killing him. Even though I don’t love this bear, I just can’t kill him.

He: Give him to me. I’ll take care of it.

Me: Really? You’d do that for me?

He: Yes.

Me: OK. I don’t want to know what happens.

[A moment of silence ensues]

Me: What are you going to do?

He: I’m not going to tell you.

Me: I don’t care if you euthanize but if you do please promise there’ll be lots of mercy?

He: Of course.

Me: OK.

[Another moment of silence]

Me: You can use my Netflix account and catch up to me on Breaking Bad until you get the disks from your dad.

He: OK.

Me: My password is capital letter-symbol-little letter-little letter-little letter-little letter-symbol-little letter-number. Isn’t that a good rememberable but unhackable password?

He: It’s hackable.

Me: It’s not a word.

He: It’s hackable.

Me: It’s a freaking jumbled up flower word with symbols and I turned the noun into an adverb which makes no sense as words go and added a number at the end to throw them off. It has letters and numbers and symbols, just like you told me to do.

He: [sighs]

Me: But you’ll remember it, won’t you? Because I want you to catch up to me soon. Because I need to process Peekaboo. That’s what the beetle episode is called.

He: You should use the password app I gave you.

Me: Something went wrong and I can’t figure it out. Plus, you have to remember the password to get into the password program.

He: Yes you do.

Me: What’s your password?

He: [Rattles off the longest sentence. In French. My recollection, in my best fake French: OohlalaMerciBocoupFoisGrasLeCorbusierLalala]

Me: Totally hackable.

[A few days later:]

Me: Did you do it already?

He: What?

Me: You know, um, the bear.


He: No.

Me: So he’s still alive?

He: Yes.

Me: Can you bring him back? I just need a picture of him.

He: Sure.

Now the bear is sitting on my bookshelf, right where I snapped the above picture of him. Honestly, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to go through with the plan, even with mercy, because now the bear has a name and I am here to tell you that it becomes significantly harder to kill (or have killed) something you’ve named. Oh dear.

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