My parents recently discovered that the best way to watch television shows is to wait until they’re about six seasons in and then buy the first five seasons and watch them in a row without commercials.
Which also means that my parents are now shut-ins who haven’t left their house in six months except to forage for more complete seasons of Dexter, Mad Men, The Big Bang Theory, and Gossip Girl (don't ask. Trust me).
At first, I found this amusing. Then sad. Then amusing again. Then sadder. And then horrifying.
Because my parents tried to lure me into their shut-in, complete-seasons-of-television-watching lifestyle by offering me the dvds when they were done with them. And as they dangled free shows in front of me like a carrot in front of a horse, it dawned on me that this is how cults begin.
But I fell for it anyway, because free stuff is free stuff. And until my book takes off, I’m poor. In fact, because I buy so many pairs of shoes, I’m SO poor that I can’t even afford the whole word “poor.” I’m just po’. Which means that my shopping addiction has even cost me my ability to speak proper English. I’m three more pairs of shoes away from just being p’.
So primarily to keep myself from thinking about shopping, I started watching Dexter.
Three days later, I had seen every episode. Some of them twice.
Four days later, I was caught up to the current season of 30 Rock. (I’d never seen an episode before that. Too many shows are on Thursday nights to dvr them all, so I stuck with the ones I was already watching. Plus I used to have a life. Now I have Liz Lemon. It's a fair trade.)
And I’m now working my way through Mad Men.
However, I encountered a major problem.
My parents are ALSO working their way through Mad Men. And I’m caught up to where they are. And they don’t want to let me watch the third season before they do. Which is COMPLETELY unfair. I mean, yes, they paid for the dvds, but they’re not chronic insomniacs like I am and therefore waste precious hours that they could spend watching Mad Men sleeping. Which I think makes them fair-weather fans and therefore they should forfeit their right to the third season until I've watched it. And besides, what am I supposed to do when I can’t sleep if I can’t find out who Don Draper is going to be sleeping with in the next episode?
So I asked myself, what would Don Draper do in this situation?
Which wasn’t all that helpful. He’d steal someone’s identity, then lie for twenty years, and then cheat on his wife with someone new once a week, all while drinking an old fashioned, smoking a cigarette, and coming up with the perfect campaign for a new Sterling Cooper client.
That wasn’t going to get me any dvds.
So I asked myself, what would Betty Draper do?
That wasn’t very helpful either. I drank a lot of wine, chain smoked six packs of cigarettes, and tried to look the other way. Then I snapped and broke a chair.
No dvds in that strategy.
What would Peggy do? Well she’d be really frumpy, then get really fat, then turn out to be pregnant and not tell anyone for two years.
Joan would work her feminine wiles, but I’m 100 percent sure that that wouldn’t work on my PARENTS. And it’d be beyond icky if it did.
So even Joan failed me.
Then I wised up and realized that acting like a character from Mad Men wasn’t going to get me any closer to season three.
So I asked myself, what would a ninja do?
I spent the next three days learning martial arts on demand (seriously, they have EVERYTHING on demand these days. I took a break from my training montage and learned how to make crème brulee, change a tire, and churn Amish-style butter, all courtesy of on demand programming). Then I dressed in all black, painted my face black, dyed Rosie’s fur black, and snuck over to my parents’ house in the dead of night.
Once there, I climbed up onto the roof and lowered myself down the chimney Mission Impossible style to steal the dvds.
Maybe I should have just let myself in the front door. I mean, I do have a key. Or maybe I shouldn’t have brought the Mission Impossible theme music with me. Or it could have been because I brought Rosie and apparently schnauzers don’t like being dyed black then lowered down a chimney in the middle of the night, even when they're highly trained ninja schnauzers.
But whatever it was that I screwed up, somehow my parents figured out that they were being robbed, which resulted in my dad chasing me through the house in his underwear with a baseball bat until he realized that it was me. Not a pretty sight.
Of course, when he realized that it was me coming to steal the third season of Mad Men, he woke my mom up, she grabbed an axe, and then they BOTH chased me while brandishing weapons.
And as I learned the hard way, apparently learning to be a ninja from on demand television does NOT actually prepare you for combat with deadly weapon-wielding parents who are defending a complete season of Mad Men.
My parents won that round.
But I didn’t give up. Oh no. I’m no quitter.
They thought it was the snow last week that knocked out their electricity. I’m not saying that I went over there with a pair of wire cutters. I’m just not saying that I DIDN’T go over there with a pair of wire cutters.
No, not really. I had nothing to do with the epic failure that is Pepco. They managed that all on their own.
What really happened is my dad went out of town and my mom wasn’t going to watch the third season without him, so I convinced her to let me borrow it on the condition that I return it by the time my dad comes home.
Which means if I don’t get through another two discs by tomorrow night, my parents are going to launch an attack that’s going to make the situation in Egypt right now look mild. We’re talking cutting off the whole country's internet, looting, extreme political unrest, the works.
Hell, they'll probably make the biblical problems in Egypt look mild, complete with rivers turning to blood, locusts, frogs, cattle disease, slaying of the first born, and (horror of all horrors) the destruction of my entire shoe collection.
In other words, I’m potentially endangering the free world by taking a break from watching Mad Men to write this. See how dedicated I am to you? Feel special.
And I get to go through this all again when season four comes out on dvd. Which leaves me a few months to perfect my ninja skills. This time, I WILL defeat my parents in the epic battle. But until then, it's back to Mad Men.
Shh. It's starting.