2017-10-16

The Joker

I could have killed the Joker. Once, a long time ago.

I posted a new profile picture on Facebook this morning. This picture.


Someone noticed that it seemed a bit darker than my usual profile pic fare and asked if I was okay. This is the answer to that.

I could have killed the Joker.

(Let’s call that a metaphorical statement, just to keep things simple.)

As anyone who’s followed and thought about the comic-book character at a certain level knows, Batman has a problem. His archenemy is the Joker, and the Joker kills people. The Joker hurts people in ways that destroy the ability think about them. But every time Batman and the Joker face off in response to the Joker having hurt people, Batman stops short of the point where he could kill the Joker himself. Sometimes he stops well short. Sometimes he stops with that death a heartbeat away. But he always stops, every time.

If you don’t know it, the profile pic of which I speak isn’t real. It’s part of a dream sequence. Batman has killed the Joker in dreams, and in non-canon alternate reality narratives, and maybe in the movies. But in the real canon, in the real stories, he stops short. Every time.

And because Batman stops, because he allows himself to accept that putting the Joker in a place where he thinks he can’t hurt anyone anymore is good enough, the Joker inevitably escapes back into the world again. The Joker inevitably kills again. And Batman inevitably stops short, again and again, of ending this cycle of pain and madness and death.

I feel like a failure a lot of the time. I know that’s not a big deal, and I know that probably everyone reading this can say the same thing from time to time. It’s all about impostor syndrome, and being at a certain point in one’s life, and feeling the passage of time, and other related shit.

But this morning, a big part of that feeling of failure comes from seeing the unclimbable wall of #MeToo facing me on social media, and knowing that even though #IBelieveYou, and #IStandWithYou, I don’t know if that’s enough. Even though I’ve spent a good chunk of my life trying to be an ally, trying to lead by example, trying to make sure that the women and the marginalized people in my life understood that I understood, and that I cared, and that I would do anything to make things better for them…

I don’t know if it’s ever been enough.

I don’t know if I should have done more.

I don’t know if I’ve been stopping short of what needed to be done.

Anyway.

Once, a long time ago, I could have killed the Joker.

(Let’s still call that a metaphorical statement, just to keep things simple.)

But that once, a long time ago, just like Batman and his inability to make that final, definitive decision, I pushed up to the point closest to that. And I stopped. I told myself it was best if I didn’t let myself go past it. And I did everything I thought I could do short of making that decision.

I did what I could to put the Joker down. I did it well. I left him in a place where I was positive that he could never get out. Positive that he could never hurt anyone, ever again.

But you know this story. So you know that he did. And he did.

Because as long as Batman doesn’t kill the Joker, that story doesn’t ever end.

Anyway.

Harvey Weinstein is clearly a different Joker than my Joker. (Though I have to admit, there’s a disturbing physical resemblance.) And alongside the pain and the heartbreak I feel in response to #MeToo, and the rage I try to quell long enough to let me say #IBelieveYou, all I can fucking think about is the long, endless goddamn line of people who could have killed Weinstein’s Joker. But they didn’t.

Bob Weinstein’s at the top of that list. Sixteen executives at the Weinstein Company who knew, from what I’ve read. Uncounted agents, managers, publicists. The list is too fucking long.

Ben Affleck could have killed the Joker. How’s that for fucking irony?

So in addition to #IBelieveYou, here’s what I’m feeling right now.

If it ever comes down to it, if I ever have the chance again.

#IWillKillTheFuckingJoker.

Not because I think it’ll make me the hero. Not because I can pretend that there won’t be consequences. But because I’m tired of this fucking story.

This story needs to stop.

2017-10-02

Daredevil

So we just had the carpet in the bedrooms replaced with laminate fake hardwood, and it’s produced one particularly unexpected effect.

My least favorite game of an evening is trying to walk through the darkened bedroom (because Colleen usually goes to sleep before I do, so I can’t turn the light on) without stepping on dogs (because the dogs’ favorite place to sleep is right directly in my freaking path, no matter which way I try to go).

But since the new floors went down, I can suddenly tell where the dogs are even in the dark, because can I hear my footsteps like I couldn’t on carpet — and I can hear how the echo of my footsteps changes when I’m about to trod on whatever animal is lying directly in front of me.

I’m like Daredevil. Except just with dogs.