Breaking Bad or Not

28 Sep

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I can turn anything into an addiction.  I once had an addiction to Jelly Belly’s (Sours only).  Every time I ate one, I’d pride myself on how they were keeping my diet in check while giving me a “little treat” because each Jelly Belly is only four calories.  Three hundred Jelly Belly beans later, I could hardly open my lips because the sour and the sweet had practically glued them shut, and I peed rainbow urine for a week.  My addiction got really out of control during the political season with the advent of the insane Tea Party and their hatred for the Black man in the White House.  By the time President Obama was reelected for a second term my nerves were practically shot, and I was up to an 800 bean habit a day.

I tried housing my Jelly Belly beans in one of those globe-like bank dispensers that no matter if you put a penny or a quarter in it, you get the same amount of goodies every time:  four freakin’ jelly beans—just enough to taunt a real bean addict!  That self-control lasted for two days, until the presidential debates in Denver where my buddy, my pal, Barack Obama “fell asleep” on national TV, and my husband found my container smashed open the next morning with a hammer and all the beans were missing.

Jelly Bean Cat Surprise

I eventually went into jelly bean rehab and kicked the habit because my addiction had cost me a dress size.  I weaned myself from the bean habit by chewing on diet gum, but even that had to be abandoned because I had a reaction to the sorbitol (form of artificial sugar) in the gum, and it gave me irritable bowel syndrome.  Of course the problem may have been that for every Jelly Belly I craved, I was chewing two sticks of diet bubble gum.  Besides sounding like a cow chewing its cud, I was always in search of a toilet.

After discussing my problem with my husband (WW), we agreed that overwhelming stress was a motivating factor in my bean addiction.  Now that I was under another type of stress as a writer trying to finish my first book, WW felt it would behoove me to cut out as much external stress as possible (a.k.a. cut out the news).

“Maybe you should stop watching so much news,” said WW.  “It might be a good idea to try to meditate and turn your attention to some other medium since TV news tends to get you so riled up.  Besides most of the narrative on TV news is not factual—it is mostly opinion.”

So I pretty much stopped watching the pundits in the morning at WW’s encouragement.  Anyway, Morning Joe was beginning to get on my ever-loving nerves with his arrogance and Mika Brzezinski was turning into a real shrew with her crusade against sugar.  (I may be wrong, but I could have sworn that I heard her make a nasty-ass crack against jelly beans one morning while I was on the tread mill, which instantly made me “so over her.”)

Media Eric Allie Caglecartoons com

Used by permission: Eric Allie,

But in WW’s attempt to heal me, he forgot to ban the Internet news.  At first I was doing fine and reading in moderation until I accidentally saw two stories online about “Crazy Ants” and the potential government shutdown by the Tea Party Repubs and that gonad-impaired Speaker of the House, John Boehner.   Apparently, there is a new form of ant on the move in Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana and they have arrived in Georgia. They are super high in numbers, have several queens, can eat everything, including wildlife, birds, and lizards, and are attracted to the electrical circuits in our houses because of the warmth. They are Hell-bent on destruction, and they can short-circuit your house, destroy your computer, take out every iThingie you own in a heartbeat, and then turn and devour you for lunch.  WTF? When I scanned the latest news about the Republican-controlled Congress trying to shut down the government any day now and realized that their endgame was pretty much the same as the Crazy Ants (destruction), I fell into another addiction to escape the madness:  Binge TV watching.

Government Shut Down Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Used by permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

I should have seen this addiction coming.  It started with Downton Abbey.  I came to the highbrow British soap opera rather late.  Everyone was hooked on it, and I got all sorts of emails and texts urging me to join the club.  So I ordered the DVDs from England and before I knew it, I had watched two seasons in three days.  I felt like I was stoned after it was over.  I started speaking in a British accent and commanded WW to serve me “Elevenses” and 4:00 tea.  To the manor born was I!

I got over the effects of Downton Abbey because WW refused to play the butler (at least not in the kitchen).  Then one of my children kept nagging me about joining Netflix and watching a show she was obsessed with (“Orange is the New Black”).  I ignored her for the longest time until one day I decided to take her up on her offer.  A gazillion episodes later, spaced over two nights, under the guise that I needed a blog topic, I was barely able to sit still due to sensory overload—not to mention that I can no longer stand the color orange.  Jelly beans, popcorn, and champagne littered the landscape in WW’s man cave.  He left me there while he went to bed like a normal human being, but I got to write a great blog about “Orange” from all the binge watching.  It took me a week to recover from the sleep deprivation.

But nothing prepared me for the Binge TV watching that I embarked upon (pulling WW along with me) when I watched both seasons (29 episodes) of Scandal over a ten-day period.  I would have watched them in a five-day period, but WW wouldn’t let me.  When the final episode ended (just in time for the Season 3 premiere), both WW (hooked into Binge Watching Scandal by me) and I screamed:  “Nooooooo, we can’t wait until Oct. 3rd to find out how and why a certain person is Olivia’s father and if Fitz (the Republican President) will return to Olivia’s arms (his black mistress)!

Scandal poster one Pinterest from Kimberly Ann

Scandal TV Show||Pinterest pin by Kimberly Ann|| Actors: Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn

Oh, God, what was I doing?  I abhor the concept of adultery and here I was Binge Watching a TV series about infidelity and cheering for the adulterers!  I’d lost all perspective.  My addiction had caused me to come undone! Oy!

Infidelity tolerance

At that very moment of Binge TV sink-hole numbness, another Binge addict called and said, “Breaking Bad is the best thing on TV in ten years.  The final episode is on Sunday, and if you don’t watch it with everyone else, someone will spoil the ending.  But you’re not prepared.  You’ve got five seasons to catch up on a story about an “everyman” character gone bad.  If you start now and don’t sleep, eat all your meals in front of the TV, don’t answer any phone calls, wear a catheter, and tell your hubby that you’ll see him after the premiere on Sunday but until then he needs to fend for himself, you should be good to go.”

“But . . . I don’t want my brain and spirit awash with a heartless story about a chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-cook.”

“There’s no ‘buts’ about it, Chicketta.  You either catch up or get left behind.  Everybody’s doin’ it.  Just turn on your Netflix and take a little peek—you’ll be instantly hooked!  You know you want to—just think how you’ll be able to forget about your own stress as you free-fall into Walter’s world. You’ll feel so much better—I promise.”

Binge Viewing David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by permission:  David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

I am discovering that an addiction can happen to anyone over anything and at any time, and in real life it is no joke.  Although my addictive responses in this satirical story were done tongue in cheek, I know that but by the grace of God go I.  When it comes to real addictions, I could free-fall into at least a half-dozen things in a heartbeat.  All it takes in life is too many disappointments, too many stressors, not enough money, and too much murder and mayhem in our lives, and something as benign as exercise can become an obsession—an addiction.  Every day is a lesson in keeping a delicate balance between the things that keep us from having the life we think we deserve and the way things are.

I hate to admit this but I need to run by the cleaners before it closes.  It is situated next door to the biggest Jelly Belly collection in my town—wall-to-wall glass jelly bean containers.  I’m on the final chapter of my book, and I’m so stressed, I’m about ready to go screaming into the night because I have to wait until Oct. 3rd before I can watch Scandal as my stress release valve.   I’m really feeling a craving for some Sours, but I mustn’t go back into the abyss.  I know all too well what will happen:  four beans might as well be 2000.  If I give in, before you know it I’ll be sprawled out on the floor in a bean-induced coma.  I must stay strong . . . I must not give in!

Breaking Bad Finale David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by permission:  David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star


“Watching TV can become malignantly addictive. TV may become malignantly addictive only once a certain threshold of quantity is habitually passed, but then the same is true of whiskey. And by “malignant” and “addictive” I again do not mean evil or coercive. An activity is addictive if one’s relationship to it lies on that downward-sloping continuum between liking it a little too much and downright needing it. Many addictions, from exercise to letter-writing, are pretty benign. But something is malignantly addictive if (1) it causes real problems for the addict, and (2) it offers itself as relief from the very problems it causes.”David Foster Wallace, “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction”

 “Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.” —David Frost


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on September 28, 2013 in Uncategorized


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21 responses to “Breaking Bad or Not

  1. Valentine Logar

    September 29, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Isn’t it strange how we can be sucked in? I am grateful, my sugar addiction is easily controlled by seasons (Candy Corn). Television has never really captured me, I watch but most things are in rerun (Criminal Minds), there has never been anything that has caught me so much I must watch though there are a few things I enjoy if I remember when they are on; Game of Thrones as an example. My worst addition is books, I am so grateful for Half Price Books where I can feed my addiction and trade in books I don’t absolutely love.

    You are correct though, we can become so easily obsessed. The world is so terrible and escape sometimes so needful. As always, perfectly expressed.

    • etomczyk

      October 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Val. My main addiction is books as well. I’m embarrassed to tell you how many books I own and haven’t read yet. And you’re right: we all need break today, every once and awhile. All the best!

  2. composerinthegarden

    September 29, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Eleanor, I’ve managed to avoid most of the shows you mentioned, but for the past several days, I and my hubby have “caught up” on (i.e. binge viewed) the first season of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan.” I decided to stop watching after several episodes because of the violence, but then I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters – what happened to them when I wasn’t watching? My husband, who had already watched to the finale, was highly amused when I watched the remaining episodes. The perfect example of David Frost’s quote “Television is an invention that permits you to be entertained in your living room by people you wouldn’t have in your home.” A great post, as always!

    • etomczyk

      October 7, 2013 at 9:44 pm

      Lynn: I have not seen Ray Donovan. I’m so “binged” out that I’ve stepped back from TV for a while. Plus I’m finishing up my book. But I’m sure when I have a little more time on my hands, I’ll find something else to get hooked on. Thanks for dropping by.

    • etomczyk

      October 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm

      Lynn: I lied. Downton Abbey will be coming in January and I’ll be there!

  3. sondramsmith

    September 29, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    and I thought I was the only one! Ha!

    I stopped watching Morning Joe too, for the same reasons!

    I didn’t have and addiction to jelly bellies, not that I wouldn’t but I have an allergy to dye in food. 😦

    I canceled cable tv, and found myself feeling very superior to those addicted to the tube. What didn’t occur to me was I was still addicted to it, only I watched on my computer, and through Netflix.
    I have done binges of Downton Abbey, Call the midwife, Bomber Girls, CSI everything, and the list goes on. Netflix makes it really easy to just click another episode.

    My name is Sondra, and I am a TV episode addict, there I have said it. LOL

    • etomczyk

      October 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      Sondra. I know exactly what you mean. Easy access makes it so addicting. I’m avoiding Netflix until I finish my book. It is much too distracting. xoxoxo

  4. talesfromthemotherland

    September 29, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I wrote a similar post about getting addicted to Reality TV (AKA: BRAVO), a few months ago. I was in a deep hole for a while! I started Breaking last summer and have meant to get back to it, but fell so far behind that as this big finale came up, I’ve opted to avoid all news/reference to it… to avoid spoiling the finale I will eventually (read months or years from now) watch! In the meantime, I know you don’t come on here often, but you missed my Fresh Pressed last week… answering all those comments kept me away from TV for an entire 3 days, BUT, became a serious over night addiction! I was gawking at sky rocketing stats and comments for days. I was sneaking downstairs to check, to avoid the withering looks of my husband and the boys… I’m in recovery now. 😉 Nice post!

    • etomczyk

      September 29, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Dawn: A hearty congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! That’s just wonderful. You’re right that I don’t drop in often because I’m finalizing my book (finished last chapter the other day). Once it has been officially birthed, I will try and return to the land of the living. In the meantime, I wish you the best and hope you celebrated! Cheers!

      • talesfromthemotherland

        September 29, 2013 at 1:06 pm

        Thanks E, but it really only spawned a new addiction (my point), stat checking! Ugh. I am SO excited that you are done! Is that with the first draft, or with edits? I found the editing to be the hardest part… but most rewarding! So thrilling!! Mazel, mazel, mazel!

      • etomczyk

        September 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm

        Dawn: This is many shades past the first draft. When I read that version now, it makes me want to vomit. I can’t believe that one ever saw the light of day. Some day I’ll write a blog about it. This version is an entirely new book, it is so different, and it is the third sweep for edits. Finalizing the last chapter seemed as if I had just gone through 20 hours of labor. Yikes!

      • talesfromthemotherland

        September 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm

        I felt EXACTLY the same way!! My first draft, which I even printed out, is a pile of doo doo! I read it and feel ill, that I ever saw it as quality. I think blogging and working with my writing group has really taken me to an entirely different level; and, my “final” draft (is there such thing?) is so much better for it! Again, Mazel!

  5. eurobrat

    September 29, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Well, the Obamas are huge Downton Abbey fans, so you’re in great company there 🙂

    I have to say I do not have a TV binge addiction…in fact I feel like I haven’t had the time to really follow a TV show in years…but when it comes to Facebook. that’s a whole different story….

    • etomczyk

      October 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      Eurobrat: And am just the opposite: I can’t stand Facebook. The thing seems like such a time suck. But my biggest addiction are books. Love them, love them, love them. Take care.

      • eurobrat

        October 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm

        I wish I saw Facebook that way. Thank you for reminding me about books…I used to love them too before the Internet came along, that smooth talker.

  6. imagesbytdashfield

    September 30, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Oh you know you are so wrong about Scandal! But in a rather so right way. But as long as we lust in our hearts that’s ok – right? LOL I just want to have her wardrobe but I digress. I have not heard of Breaking Bad till just the other week. Guess it’s off to Netflix or something. Personally I am a Scandal and Doctor Who addict…and unfortunately carbs. Those *&^%$ are wreaking havoc on my figure.

    • etomczyk

      October 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm

      TD. Scandal is back on and I am there! But I hate the commercials. I learned about Scandal via Netflix and I binge watched two seasons with no commercials. That’s the way I like it, uh-huh! Take care.

      • imagesbytdashfield

        October 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm

        Or record it and then watch it later zipping through the commercials. Sometimes I do that.

  7. becomingcliche

    September 30, 2013 at 11:23 am

    I have been addicted to TV and to the internet. I am without both at home currently, except for a few brief windows. The first few days were anxiety-producing. The hard part is not filling that void with another addiction.

  8. Lindy Lee

    October 16, 2013 at 12:34 am

    Nighttime soap operas– what a trend!


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