Spoiler Alert

J'MelYou’re just going to have to wait and see.

By J’Mel Davidson


Hey! Wanna take a walk with me? I’m gonna take the long way around, but it’ll be fun. Come on…I’ve missed you.

Like a lot of you good folks, I’m caught up in Game of Thrones excitement. That is to say, I happily watch the show when it airs, and I have a slight understanding of what’s going on. There are dragons and zombies and giants and bony ladies taking deep breaths. Everything a growing boy needs.

One of my main issues is that I have always had an inability to retain fictional names and places. Tales about Frodo and Gandolf just don’t stick with me as much as stories about Frank and Steve. My point is that I didn’t grow up on Lord of the Rings and Dragon Riders of Pizitz. I love Game of Thrones with all its violence and double crosses. Hell, there are even a few quadruple crosses! That’s my bread and butter—but I still have no idea who anyone is or where they are. Here is a typical conversation between my mother and I while watching on Sunday nights:

Ma: “Wait, now who is he?”

Me: “Remember, the guy? He was from that other castle.”

Ma: “Oh yeah, right. And what’s his name? The king?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Ma: “I can’t wait till they get that Ol’ Joffrey!”

That was a lot of set up, I know. Here’s my point: I don’t understand why people like to spoil things for themselves. For instance, I know people who decided, as soon as they knew there would be a Game of Thrones series, to then begin to read the books. Because they wanted to know what was going to happen before they saw what would happen.

We used to have a word for this sort of thing, but unfortunately, my editor has told me to lean more toward political correctness in my tirades. So I’ll simply ask: Why? Why be a ruiner, you ruiner? So many times, I’ve had people say to me, “Oh! X is going to be a movie? I should rush and read the book now!” And I say, “But then you’ll know everything that happens! Why not just wait?” And they stare at me with the same confusion a pet has when asked a question. (News flash, people: Your dog doesn’t understand you. You’re just a bigger dog as far as he knows.)

Another thing: Recently, Marvel studios figured it’d be a good idea to release the first 10 minutes of its newest film onto the Internet for people to see. But why would you watch this? If you were already going to see the film in theaters, why would you want to ruin that experience by pre-watching and dulling the magic of having the story open up in front of you on screen? And if you didn’t already want to see the film, you’re probably not going to want to sit through 10 minutes of it. I don’t want to see 30 seconds of any Tyler Perry movie, let alone 10 whole minutes! That’s a lifetime! That’s five Hot Pockets!

I posed this question to friends on the Facepage: “Why would anyone want to see the first 10 minutes of a film?” The only answer I got was, “Free will.” Actually, the answer was “Free will?” Meaning this person wasn’t even sure that free will was either a real thing or a valid answer.

OK. I’m not here to dig into whether or not free will is an answer to this or any other question. The column is called “Pop Quiz” not “Pop Psychology.” For the most part, I’m here to keep it lighthearted and to tie my rants to things your stepchildren can explain to you later.

But I have a theory. I think the reason that people hate surprises and can’t simply enjoy things without trying, perhaps unconsciously, to ruin them is because we are all overstimulated. We are all cursed with what has recently been coined as White People Problems. Miracle Whip when we really want mayo. Can’t figure out which of the 1,000 channels to leave on in the background as we try to sleep. An untalented teenager sticks her tongue out on stage, and it becomes news.

We are bored. We are bored of being bored. But, we aren’t “really” bored, because we have easy access to any knowledge and information that we could ever want right in out pockets. We can’t talk to the person in front of us, because there’s a call coming in. Is it important? Doesn’t matter! It’s a call from someone ELSE!

As always, I have no answers—well, I do, but there is way too much swearing involved. And I’m not casting the first stone, either. I’m guilty of annoying first world pet peeves, too. I’m simply saying, try and remember what the world was like before the Internet. Remember when you needed spare change to make a call. Before you had to look at pictures of strangers’ food, and “like” the experience. Remember what it was like to actually be surprised at the cinema because you didn’t already know every surprise.

Remember these words: “Let me call you back. I’m with a real, live person.”

Just a small step toward real life, no spoilers.

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