I pride myself on being a very calm person. More than just calm, I pride myself on perspective. I don't get too worked up over anything negative because it could always be worse. I believe that a positive outlook brings positive things. I think that the biggest problem with our society is that it is enslaved by fear and I refuse to let that happen to me. I'm not making this stuff up or pulling it from thin air -- I'm introspective and I really believe these things about myself. I say this as background so you'll understand how out of character it was for me when I was racked by anxiety around a year ago.
To call it an anxiety attack would be a drastic overstatement, but I felt deeply worried all the same. Was it over money? Nah, I'd never let money rule my life like that. Health? I almost never get sick and my wife and I hadn't quite decided to start trying to get pregnant yet. So what in the world screwed with head?
It was a white screen with four black letters: "LOST".
Go back to the end of the fifth season finale of the show that ends tomorrow night. Jack decided that he could fix everything if he could, thanks to Daniel Faraday's calculations, detonate a hydrogen bomb inside an electromagnetic field. The bomb didn't go off until Juliet, having been sucked down into a pit by the magnetism, hit it with a rock. The bomb was supposed to make it so that the island never existed so that Oceanic 815 couldn't have crashed on it on September 22, 2004. Juliet hits the bomb and then, boom, silence and the white screen.
What happened? What happened? Did it work? Were they still on the island? Did the plane land safely in LA? And that's where anxiety creeped in: what if I never find out? What if I get in a car crash and I never find out what happened after Jughead exploded? What if there's somebody out there who won't live long enough to know the ultimate answers? I spent Thursday afternoon at a Lost-themed Happy Hour in Adams Morgan, run by washingtonpost.com. There was a costume contest. There were drink specials like the MIB Mixer and the Jack Shephard and Coke. There was a lot of speculation about what already happened and what's to come. It was packed; all people who care deeply about this show that was first pitched as just a dramatic version of Survivor.
And so, tomorrow night, the ultimate answers will come as the show concludes, and I have no idea what is going to happen. I can make arguments for and against the sideways world being an epilogue. We still don't know what the light at the heart of the island is exactly and what it is capable of doing. It's a great credit to producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse that we are this close to the end and nobody has any real sense of what the heck is going on. It's that sense of mystery and, yes, confusion that has kept the die-hards going to the end and lost the show so many viewers as time wore on. Because of that loss of ratings over time, one has to wonder if this type of show can be repeated. Are the networks willing to invest that much money in something that could end up being only for a niche? Beyond that, is there someone out there that could even write as layered a mystery?
There are better TV shows (Mad Men, Treme), but there's nothing that will take Lost's place next year. Nothing that will make me think my brain into a pretzel. Nothing that will make me so hungry for answers that I'll be hit with anxiety over whether or not I'll get them. I'll miss that.
Coming tomorrow: my lists of the great mysteries and characters of Craphole Island, as Shannon called it. And, of course, the end.