Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Fake Spooks, Prodigal Sons, and Injustice.

The fake paranormal documentary I watched tonight was about a family being menaced by a couple of really nasty child ghosts – the sort that frown at you through the bedroom window and pull the blankets off the live kids’ beds just because they can. Excuse the cliché.

It was supposed to be real, but how real is it when the paranormal investigators capture the ghosts clear as day and in living Technicolor on their camcorders? It doesn’t happen, does it? If it did, nobody would be able to say ‘I don’t believe in ghosts’ ever again.

The best bit for me was when the man from the local church was called in to perform an exorcism. He was bald and 6ft 10” of pure blubber. In true man-from-the-church fashion, he reassured the benighted mother that she wasn’t going crazy, and called her Debbie with that simpering tone of voice that makes you want to vomit. At that point I found myself changing sides and wishing the ghosts would bounce him down the stairs. They didn’t, but neither did they leave. I like it when that happens.

The bad bit for me was that the whole thing was set in Pennsylvania. I like Pennsylvania. It has warm and scintillating associations. Arguably the biggest sparkle my life has ever known comes from Pennsylvania. Why not South Dakota, which is the only American state that has never visited this blog?

To conclude, Debbie put the house up for sale. ‘Until the house is sold,’ intoned the narrator gravely, ‘Debbie lives in constant fear of the unknown.’ Don’t we all?

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I hear the Republicans are now running America and want a return to the good old days when poor people got the health services they deserve. We’ll take the better ones of you Yankees back if it all gets too much.

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And since I’m nothing if not disjointed these days, I might just mention an old injustice. When I was a kid and my parents went out on a cold winter’s night, my mother would instruct me to switch on their electric blanket at 10 o’clock. Sometimes I forgot, and then I would feel terribly guilty. Why should I have felt guilty? I didn’t even have an electric blanket. That didn't occur to me at the time, but now it's simmering.

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