Death and Dexter

I seemed to be obsessed with death these days.

This is not surprising to me. I’m dramatic. I have a whole shelf of books dedicated to the topic. Well, not death, but the aftermath of death – grief, recovery, etc. And in all my favorite movies someone drops dead. I won’t list them for fear I’d ruin a plot for you. But I think about death a lot, always have. I mean, not every day, but often enough. And lately, I keep asking friends about their experiences with death, well, again, not death, but bodies. I ask, “do you remember the first dead body you ever saw?” over tacos. Morbid, I know. The answers are terrific though. I mean really fascinating. I’m writing a piece, formulating this essay of sorts, an exploration of my fixation, of my fears, of our cultural avoidance with the whole process and it all started with me thinking about the first dead body I ever saw – which, shockingly, wasn’t that long ago.

Strangely, I have also been watching the show Dexter non-stop. Dexter, if you don’t know, is a show about a sociopath serial-killer that kills serial-killers. Charming, no? There’s so much death, disturbing, senseless death in it. And somehow it’s both light and heavy. It’s hysterical. And the relationships are tender. I can’t stop watching. The simplicity of the losses grabs at me. It’s strange. It’s frightening. And the strangeness stays with me and makes other real-life things strange. Like I was on the phone with my mother and I can’t even begin to say how much I like my mother. She’s like a perfect day. I mean she’s a mom with all the things that make you want to rip your hair out, but still she’s Mom – mom in the best sense of the word. And this world without her, well, I just can’t grasp that world. That’s what I thought of after I hung up the phone. I thought of that because I’m watching Dexter, and I’m thinking about dead bodies, and I’m writing stories about loss. Loss and Resurrection. I once heard a writer say that was all she could think about – “Loss and resurrection”. Everything she saw in life was Loss and Resurrection.  Everything. 

Here’s the strange part – not depressed. All the death pondering hasn’t sent me down a dark well of nothingness. Is it Buddhism that tells you to ponder your non-existence to appreciate your presence in the now? I feel that. Now is a good moment. Everyone I want alive and breathing and reachable is right here. That’s a feeling I can’t even find words for. Overwhelming.

So, let’s end by saying, don’t watch Dexter. I have to say that because I’d feel bad encouraging our culture’s sickly obsession with senseless violence. But if you do watch it, let’s talk, because GOOD GRIEF….. I mean, really, GOOD GRIEF! 

Oh and Netflix is ruining my life. I hardly read or write lately. I wish they weren’t so accessible. I’m a bum now. The other day I found myself quoting t.v. shows like the characters were my actual friends. “And then Liz Lemon was all….”

Sad. I hate those people.  How cute is he with his bloody face?


5 responses

  1. 1. I had to stop watching that show. With as much as I like Serial Killers….I couldn’t stand the actress that plays his sister (and is also his wife…weird). She is TERRIBLE.
    2. Some people think my older brother looks like a cross between dexter and Matt Damon.
    3. The first dead body I saw was on Sarah’s birthday. We were doing a Scavenger hunt around the Laguna Hills mall and we were by the bus stop, doing something stupid I am sure, and there was a man sitting on a bench, waiting for the bus, taking a nap. However after we circled the mall and came back there was an ambulance and a white sheet draped over him. That wasn’t a nap.

  2. 1. I KNOW! Deb is so lame and I had the same problem. However, she becomes more likable in Season 2. Like now I don’t even notice her. Don’t watch.

    2. I can totally see that – because Dexter kind of looks like a mix of Dexter and Matt Damon.

    3. That’s awful – poor guy- what a way to go. So did you go to memorial services when you were younger where there were viewings or open caskets? Or no? Have you yet? This is part of the thing that fascinates me – how so many of my friends didn’t see dead bodies until they were older. I’ve only been to one viewing and I was 29 and the family was African American.

  3. Great post and brilliant blog. I wish I had read your post earlier; I just started Dexter, and fear I can’t stop…damn Netflix!
    Never seen a dead body outside of a casket…and bodies in caskets have never bothered me. In fact, I have never felt anything looking at the soulless corpse of a deseased friend or family member. I wonder what that means…

  4. first dead body i saw was under a sheet in the middle of the strip in las vegas aged 18. the sheet was bloody. scary. i also saw mike in his casket when i was 21. it still haunts me. i wish i hadn’t seen him. forest lawn- why the fuck would you paint a room light green to “showcase” dead bodies? disturbing.

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