BB #23: Creeped Out

coffinThe other day I was watching a TNT rerun of Castle, a show I recently decided to check out and discovered I liked. I’m actually vaguely embarrassed—not in liking the show, it’s a good show—because I didn’t realize the male lead, Nathan Fillion, is Malcolm from Firefly (and the movie based on it, Serenity).

A while back (probably when they first began airing older episodes), TNT was running a lot of ads for the show, and I kept thinking, “Gee, that guy looks so familiar.”  It took another blogger reviewing the show to make the connection. (I’m oddly bad with faces sometimes.)

It’s a good show, but this isn’t about Castle so much as coffins and creepy things.

Castle and Beckett

Where do I know him from?

In the episode in question, Rick Castle is creeped out at the idea of sleeping in a coffin.

It’s an idea you see from time to time in TV and movies: people who find the idea of a coffin creepy.

Or sometimes you encounter the opposite, people like Abby Sciuto from NCIS who like the idea of sleeping in a coffin.

Such people are usually either Gothic or just plain creepy. (Abby, of course, is the former and an otherwise really delightful person. She’s one of my favorite characters on the show. She’s one of those fictional characters I wish I was friends with.)

Anyway, the whole coffin creepy thing completely escapes me. I have no understanding of why sleeping in one wooden box would be creepier than sleeping in any wooden box.

It wouldn’t give me a second’s pause.

Abby SciutoIt seems to be related to the idea of a coffin but has no real connection with reality that I can see.

It’s one of those things that makes me wonder about people and about how ideas can seriously trip us up, even when those ideas are contrary to rational thought.

[My marriage ended because my wife had irrational ideas that were hugely contrary to the reality she desired, but from which she found no escape.]

The coffin thing reminded me of a time long ago when I lived in Los Angeles, and I read about a professional carpenter who wanted to make nice, sturdy shelter units for the homeless.

The problem was, the carpenter only knew how to make (really good) dog houses. so these shelter units were basically large dog houses.

His dream of providing shelter to the homeless was thwarted, because people with no connection to the situation were appalled at the idea of the homeless sleeping in [gasp] dog houses.

dog house

Worse than a cardboard box?

Apparently a cardboard box or filthy blanket under a bridge is preferred.

Do you wonder why I think people are stupid?

Somehow the idea of [gasp] a dog house is somehow worse than whatever a homeless person can scrape up on their own.

We get so bound up in pointless ideas and labels. They seem to replace actual thought.

[Not to bring up my long-dead marriage again, but there was a time a few years after the divorce when her third marriage was rocky, headed for separation, and it looked like there was some chance we might get back together. A key reason not: she couldn’t deal with the label, “three-time divorcee.” I tried to explain that it would actually be a case of having gotten it right the second time (with me), but to no avail.]

However, he said quickly changing the subject, that’s not to say that I can’t be creeped out (it’s just not easy).

Rattle SnakeLast night I was watching one of the few (only?) TV science programs still worth watching, the PBS show NOVA.

The episode was titled, Venom: Nature’s Killer.  It was about the snakes, spiders, jelly fish, lizards, cone snails and other critters that are venomous.

Scientists study venom, which is made of unusual proteins, in hopes of discovering new medicines. Many have already been found, and I have some personal experience with that (a tale for another time).

The show was fascinating, but… Oh… My… God!

I’m never going in the ocean again. Or the forest. And the jungle? Forget about it. Hell, I’m never leaving my house again.

Except I have spiders in my house, so what I really need is one of those silicon valley clean rooms with highly filtered air and no animal life of any kind!

Black Widow

On the other hand, Black Widows are not harmless!

In fact, I was on the couch after work reading when a bit of motion caught my eye: Big spider crawling up the wall just inches away!

Well, that’s not really a big deal.

While just about all spiders are venomous, most of them don’t have strong enough, or large enough, fangs to bite through human flesh.

Nearly are spiders are fairly harmless (and I actually rather like them).

But something deep in our genes responds, nevertheless (might be the eight legs, eight eyes thing).

After a moment of “Arg!!” I went and got a tissue.

But when I returned the spider was gone.

Which means so were my plans for napping on the couch. Little bugger is hiding somewhere waiting to pounce, I know it. Now I’m gonna have to sell the couch and knock down that wall.

No, not really, but I did decide to come over to the computer and write a blog post instead of taking that nap.

Pity. I was looking forward to the nap.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

18 responses to “BB #23: Creeped Out

  • dianasschwenk

    haha. Coffin or not, I don’t want to sleep in a box, it’s too confined. I did not know all spiders were venomous and had fangs – egads, I’ll never sleep again! 😉 Thanks for the chuckle by the way.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Tiny, eight-legged, hairy fanged monsters! But, as I mentioned, I rather like them. They eat other bugs, and computer programmers have a soft spot for the number eight.

      I can understand not wanting to be boxed in, that’s a natural response (as is being creeped out by critters that can kill you in minutes or hours or that look like they came from some prehistoric hellscape). It’s the reaction, “But it’s a coffin!” (or, “But it’s a dog house!”) that I just don’t get.

      But it’s just a label!!

  • pendantry

    You’re right on the money with those dog boxen. Have you heard of the Cube Project?


    • Wyrd Smythe

      I had not heard of the Cube Project. I’ve (very briefly) lived on some boats, so I am slightly familiar with ultra-dense living arrangements (cruise ships can also be interesting that way). To be honest, I’ve stopped caring about sustainability issues. I’m now 100% convinced we’re all on the Titanic. The ship is sinking. We are all doomed. Might as well enjoy the band and the drinks until we drown.

      Yes, that’s right. I’ve given up on the human race. I no longer believe we have a chance of survival. We’re not smart enough by a long stretch.

  • Chika Efobi

    Well… for one, I am glad you didn’t take that nap. How else would I have had the pleasure of reading this?

    The creepy thing about coffins is not because it is a wooden box, it is because it signifies death, end. Not a lot of people are comfortable with this reality especially if one feels he/she still has a lot to achieve on planet earth. Now, one’s view about a coffin could change if one’s views about death changes from end to say…continued existence in a different form. I know an artiste who stays in his coffin to meditate. He believes that the coffin helps him remember that he is human and keeps him grounded. What else can I say? Different strokes for different folks 😀

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yes, exactly so! Coffins represent the idea of death (but in reality are just wooden boxes).

      That’s precisely what I find so interesting: how people are unable to get past the idea they represent. In the case of sleeping—or not sleeping, as the case may be— in a coffin, it’s kind of a “so what” thing (or, as you say, “Different strokes for different folks”). But when the inability to get past an idea to the reality behind that idea negatively affects your life (like your marriage!), then it seems much more of a big deal.

      Clearly ideas are very powerful and important and useful! It’s when we start letting them control us that people start getting nailed to crosses or burned at stakes. Somehow we need to keep in mind that they are just ideas.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Chika! Good to “see” ya!

  • reocochran

    Very well written and relatable to me. I think that t.v. shows get our minds in the strangest places! I am not sure but I think if I were tired I would rather sleep in a new coffin (never used) than the floor. Also, a dog house over the ground and would seek the warmth over open air. The show, “NCIS” really has found a winner in Abby’s character. The actress was in a really well done movie about Coco Chanel, showed her acting skills with a different type of character. I think your quirks comments are funny! As always, you got quite a discussion going here, offbeat and quirky!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Heh, yes, unused coffin is an important part! Dead bodies are not terribly hygienic! But an unused one is just a box with cushy lining and a nice satin pillow! 🙂

      NCIS has indeed found a winner in Pauley Perrette! And every single other actor! (It’s fun to see “Illya Kuryakin” on TV again. I was a huge Man From U.N.C.LE. fan—got the series DVDs, in fact.) There is no character on that show I wouldn’t love to have as a friend.

      I do love the conversations I get here! Nothing like a good discussion over a fun topic!

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