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12/15/02 Devil's Advocate
11/30/02 The Wall
11/15/02 My Darling Packrat
10/15/02 The Magazine Rack
10/01/02 My Shoe Thing
09/15/02 Doey Overies
08/16/02 Panic Attack
07/15/02 Unsolved Mysteries

Unsolved mysteries

I've been watching Unsolved Mysteries again. It's on every night at eight. My VCR is set to Record Perpetually.

Robert Stack has announced so many episodes that I know his voice better than my father's. I have dreams in which he is my father.

Someday Stack is going to die, but his voice will go on: "Although I passed away 10 years ago, my voice mysteriously continues to announce this program. If you have any information..."

I'm not proud of my fixation with the show. It's like passing an accident on the freeway: you don't want to look, but you have to. And part of you hopes for the worst.

Night after night, Unsolved Mysteries reveals murder, abduction, bludgeoning -- a grisly parade of Jon-Benet Ramseys. If it were fiction, we wouldn't believe it. Some killers bury the body; others think that they will be the first to get away with throwing it in the river.

And I just stare, unable to believe it, unable to stop.

Recently, I saw an episode about Ira Einhorn, the hippie icon who, among other things, created Earth Day. Behind the scenes, he suffered from O.J. Simpsonitis and ultimately killed his girlfriend. He neither buried the body nor threw it in the river but kept it locked in his closet (talk about your skeletons).

When the show ended, I kept watching... How did this man go about the day with his girlfriend decaying behind the wall? How does one eat one's Fruit Loops under those conditions? Evidently, Ira's hygiene was such that he couldn't smell the difference.

Then, of course, there are the stories of UFOs, ghosts, people who talk to animals. And I believe them all, every last one. Tell me more, more, more.

Unsolved Mysteries has given me the full-time goose bumps. I jog with an uneasy feeling that I might discover a dead body. I consider anyone who drives a van to be a rape suspect. Friends won't visit anymore because of the polygraph tests.

Before I go to bed, I lock the doors twice and slip the dog a No-Doz. I can't use the bathroom without hearing Robert Stack's voice:

"A man gets up to use the restroom as he had so many times before, only to find an unexpected visitor..."

Yet I keep watching, jaw agape, addicted to the revulsion. You can't skip the reruns, either, because you never know when there will be an:

"UPDATE: Ira Einhorn was captured in the south of France living with his girlfriend, who evidently has no sense of smell."

Whereas the program is performing a service to aid in the arrest of fugitives, I feel that it has consumed my last tittle of innocence. Whatever hope I had for mankind is cowering in the corner beneath a fort of sofa cushions.

My wife Yahaira has forbidden me to watch the show, so I tune in while she's at school (what if I am the one with that critical piece of information?). When my tape runs out, I turn to Justice Files, the same thing without the whodunit.

Researchers continue to study people like me, who just can't seem to get full. As yet, they have been unable to explain our fascination with mobsters and serial killers and horror movies. Until they do, it will remain ... an unsolved mystery.


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