I read spoilers. I can’t help it. It’s like a crippling disease, like some uncontrollable nervous tic, that compels me to destroy all chances of being genuinely surprised by just about any show or movie. Upcoming Game of Thrones episodes? Already know about it. Upcoming Glee episodes? Who told you I watched Glee? Those are vicious lies and slander.
I can see the disappointment in my partner’s eyes when I confess I already knew ahead of time what was about to happen. “Why would you do that?” he says. “It makes watching a show so boring”. What would you know, disapproving soul mate? I have an awesome time. I can even pretend to be psychic with some friends. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if [insert spoiler] happened?” Oh, the fun I have.
And it doesn’t stop there. This behaviour carries over into just about every other situation in my life. Surprises are just something I like to keep at bay, as if they were crazed wildebeests trying to trample my life down. Everything is set out and regimented. I simply must know every detail about a situation or event prior to it happening. The world would be chaos without structure I tell you. Chaos!
I try and resist these urges, almost to the point of physically grabbing my hand before it hovers over to said show’s spoiler page. “Don’t do it!” one part of me screams. “Do it! It’ll feel so good,” says another seductively.
I think this stems from some deep-seated issue of never liking surprises. Whenever I discovered friends or family were planning a surprise party for me (or a present that they hadn’t conferred with me about prior to purchasing), I would develop deep anxiety about the situation.
What is it? I wonder. What have they got planned? What if I hate it? I have to mentally prepare myself for the possibly impending disappointment. I practise at home as if I were preparing for an Academy Award speech (like any self-respecting homosexual male, I always was quite fond of theatrics).
I like to imagine something traumatic happened to me as a child. Maybe I woke up on the morning of my birthday, a bleary eyed five year old. Life would be so exciting and full of promise, so full of hope and wonder. I would trudge downstairs to be presented with cake and gifts. I would have told my mum exactly what I wanted (probably a Thomas the Tank Engine toy), only to be presented with socks or one of those godawful hats with a propeller. How dare you, mother! My childhood dreams and aspirations for the future – all ruined!
We would cry and I would throw my arms up in the air and loudly vow on that day, a now cynical young child, that I would be surprised no more… I told you, theatrics!
I guess I also have gotten too many of my father’s traits. Surprises are of the devil and gifts should be reduced to money so the other person can buy a gift or necessities, or a thorough one-hour meeting should be held where all ideas are laid out on the table so the future gift receiver can approve or deny them.
One could argue this sort of behaviour can be attributed to social media – the greatest tool for friendship spoilers.
“You will not believe what just happened with Janessa,” a friend will say.
“She’s living as a woodland nymph with a man named Clarice, I know. But more importantly, who has a name like Janessa?”
The internet is also an amazing place for spoilers and one reason for society’s ever-decreasing patience level. Why would you wait 24 hours for the latest episode of Modern Family when you can watch it right now? (Also, thanks a lot Australia for delayed airing times.)
You can live your carefree and surprise-ridden life if you want to; I’m going to live in blissful hyper-awareness of everything prior to it happening. I’m having a great time.
This is an extended version of a column that was originally published in mX (July 8, 2013).