I have an issue with Breaking Bad, and that issue is that I can’t stop watching it. The show is over, I know. Still, for some reason, I find myself watching it when I need a diversion. Perhaps it’s not light viewing, but that doesn’t stop me. I like Walt. The metamorphosis of his character is nothing short of genius, and Bryan Cranston’s portrayal of him is poetry. This weekend I started busting through all the episodes of Season 5 again because I admire the way Vince Gilligan was able to do with Breaking Bad what Abrams and Lindelof failed to do with my other favorite show, LOST, which is tie up loose ends. (Admittedly, LOST had about a gazillion loose ends to tie up, so maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe I should work on letting go?) As I said, I have an issue.
Anyway, tonight I was binge watching episodes when Joe walked in. The boys have seen bits and pieces of the show over the years, and as they have gotten older I’ve been more willing to explain the show’s premise and characters. Last week, I got into a long conversation with Luke trying to explain the relationship between Walt and Hank using my husband and brother-in-law as examples. Nothing like telling your kid, “Well…it’s like if your dad cooked crystal meth and your uncle worked as a special agent for the DEA.”
If you’ve seen the show, you know that ricin figures into the plot repeatedly. So tonight Joe catches a few lines about ricin and its effects and becomes concerned. Of course he does. He’s perpetually on high alert, that one.
“I’m scared,” he tells me.
“Of what?” I inquire.
Oh, holy hell.
“Joe, there is no reason to be scared of ricin.”
“What if I get poisoned?” he asks.
“You’re not going to be poisoned by ricin. I’m pretty sure about that.”
“But, it’s out there.”
“It’s not easy to come by. You’re safe. Why are you asking these questions?”
“Because my throat kind of hurts,” he tells me.
The character on the show, you see, was feeling under the weather. The viewer discovers it’s due to ricin poisoning. So, of course, my son now thinks his scratchy throat is a sign that he’s been poisoned. It’s about this point that I’m ready to hang my husband for passing on his worry-gene onto my darling son.
“There are about a dozen reasons why your throat may feel sore right now, Joe. None of them have anything to do with ricin,” I reassured him, trying not to laugh. I then told him to stop watching my show and get out of my room.
If there’s one truly great reason for having kids, it’s the conversations you’ll have. It’s not every day I get into a conversation with another adult about ricin. Chances are, though, if I did, it would be a lot less amusing and they’d probably look at me sideways for a while afterward.