Fever Dreams in the Twilight Zone

I’m still sick. Alert the media.

This sucks, because I’ve got a kitchen full of medications that don’t work very well individually, but I’m warned that if I combine them, my liver will crawl out of my body through my nose and officially resign. It’s still tempting. I’ve mixed meds before and lived to tell the tale, but then again that was when I was in college, and was younger, dumber, braver, and drunker; it was probably my one free pass.

All I can do when I feel this miserable is feel sorry for myself and stare numbly into space, and there’s nothing like cable for staring into space AT something, so I’ve spent the whole day watching the SciFi Channel’s marathon-of-the-day. I got lucky today: it was “The Twilight Zone,” which is easily my favorite SciFi offering, slightly ahead of “The X-Files.”

There’s something about “Twilight Zone” that’s just perfectly suited to sickness and fever and the kind of apathy that parks your ass in front of a TV screen in the first place. You see the show’s same favorite actors over and over, in different costumes, with different accents: Burgess Meredith, Jack Klugman, William Shatner, that blonde actress who I know is somebody but I can never catch her name in the credits because the SciFi Channel crunches them down to a fraction of the screen in order to advertise… more “Twilight Zone.” I’ve started wondering if Klugman actually did any non-“Zone” work before he grew up to become the “Quincy” of my childhood. Ditto for Burgess Meredith, who went on to become Mickey and got paid to call Sylvester Stallone a bum, which is a good gig for anybody.

Today’s shows were the one-hour “Zone” episodes, which are never as good as the half-hour shows to me. An hour just takes too long to build and ends too abruptly; the ending that leaps out at you at the end of thirty minutes loses some of its punch over an hour’s buildup. There was the one with the title I didn’t catch, about the museum guide who takes home the “Murderers’ Row” wax dummies of Jack the Ripper and other famous killers, only to become so obsessed with their maintenance that he joins them in the end. Well, duh. Even feverish I could see this coming. Did we really need the whole interlude with his wife’s suspicious brother? All that was left to imagination was the last frame, when he’s immortalized among them at another museum later on. (Sorry if I just ruined this episode for anybody, although “Zone” usually makes me feel like I’m the only person alive who’s never seen every episode sixteen times.)

I got up and took some cough syrup and damned the instructions and took some Excedrin with them, and parked in front of the TV again, this time switching my allegiance over to Animal Planet, where I scored big. I caught them on what must have unofficially been Big Cat Afternoon, and watched swimming lions and cheetahs speeding in slow motion, ignoring the slight ringing in my ears, which I could barely hear over one ear being stopped up by this cold anyway. I watched jaguars slinking through the South American jungle and thought about how the whole afternoon had become a long fever dream about spotted cats, coughing fits, and Allstate ads. I caught another favorite “Zone” that featured Julie Newmar as the devil, fitting nicely into my semihallucinatory state.

I hope this isn’t how I spend Thanksgiving Day, knocking back cough syrup shooters and throat drops over at John’s family’s house and then rejoining everyone in the living room to watch the Lions/Packers game. On the other hand, I’m kind of curious to see what overmedicating myself might do for the Macy’s parade. I’ve always wanted a giant Snoopy balloon.

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12 Responses to “Fever Dreams in the Twilight Zone”

  1. Hope you feel better soon!
    I am in awe of your ability to write so well while sick. I lost interest in any synaptical activity when I wasn’t feeling well.

    I got sucked into the very end of the Twilight Zone marathon and watched the interminable elderly-at-sea episode. The surprise ending becomes clear about three minutes into the show.

  2. Wanda Rizzuto Says:

    “I’ve started wondering if Klugman actually did any non-”Zone” work before he grew up to become the “Quincy” of my childhood.”

    Are you nuts, or has the fever caused you to forget about The Odd Couple?

    I love The Twilight Zone, but I love The Honeymooners marathons even more. I think that might be a New York thing.

  3. Your sense of humor, and your writing make this a great read. I hate hearing you aren’t well. Hope you have a decent day tomorrow anyway. Here we will have a quiet day. I imagine the horses will be treated to apples..if any are left after apple pie.

  4. Hi everyone. If anybody’s wondering, Alka-Seltzer Night Cold & Cough is da BOMB. Last time I got to sleep that fast, I’d had three margaritas.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Wanda, I totally forgot the Odd Couple!

  6. pandemonic Says:

    Poor thing. I hope someone helps you. You need some intense babying.

  7. jojovtx1800 Says:

    That sux, hope you feel better soon.
    Yeah- Klugman was on the “Odd Couple”
    The only thing I can remember Burgess Meridith on was “Twilight Zone” and his many visits to “Batman” as the penguin.
    Favre and the Pack put it on the Lions- YAY!

  8. That was a terrific game — God, I’d love to see Favre beat the Patsies in the Super Bowl this year…

  9. Poor dear … I fear you are running neck and neck with me for the “great blogging while on verge of Death” award, which is, believe me, overrated.

    I laughed and laughed at that Twilight Zone about the curator and the murderers … it was so silly.

  10. shadodottir Says:

    Found you! And then laughed through this whole blog.

    You make me actually nostalgic for TV — not enough to actually get a TV and watch it, but enough to remember when it was new and fascinating. I saw those TZ episodes when they were new. We also loved Outer Limits and, later, Night Gallery.

  11. Hot Water Solar Panels…

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you….

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