I got to work last Thursday morning with eyes swollen to the size of tennis balls and a massive headache. I opened the door, took one look at my boss’s red eyes and downturned mouth and barely even had to ask the words “Offpsring finale?” before I knew the answer. Women all over the city looked similar that day, because we’d all watched our Patrick’s funeral the night before. Patrick. Patrick, Patrick, Patrick. Why, God, Whyyyy? I was extremely depressed after his funeral, but I have to admit something - and I may have to go into hiding after admitting this to avoid a violent wrath from females everywhere – I’m kind of relieved Patrick died. Not because I’m tired of watching that dream hunk every Wednesday, not because he was anything less than perfect – because I was getting weirdly jealous of Nina and her awesome, exciting, crazy, drama-filled, perfect-partnered life. This is embarrassing to admit, but it’s true.
I get jealous of fictional characters.
Honestly, I do love my life. I am living the dream (the ‘largely-out-of-work actor’ dream, that is). I am doing what I love surrounded by people whom I love, with plenty of naps and chocolate. But get me on a good fiction story – Offspring, Harry Potter, Da Vinci Code, Wallace and Gromit – and suddenly, my life is more boring than watching painted grass dry and grow. I want to be fighting for my honour in a boxing ring yelling ‘Adriaaan’ with blood pouring out of one eye. I want to be offering myself up as Tribute to save my little sister and stab some guy with arrows. I want to feel alive by holding a live bomb inside the live chest cavity of a live patient in the ER of Seattle Grace Hospital. I want to be a fictional character.
I have never been able to read Harry Potter books over and over. That’s not to say I’m not a huge fan – by all means, I mourned Dumbledore with the best of them*. But every time I read one of the books or saw one of the movies, I would get all caught up in the world of witches and wizards - where everyone kept wands up their sleeves and it was cool to realllllly love the principal of your school, where you had to be brave and “Expecto Patronum” your way out of life-threatening situations on a daily basis, where no one got in trouble for getting lamington stains on their work uniform and forgetting to pay parking tickets - and I would feel... deflated. Because the most dangerous thing I had done that day was lick an envelope, or stir a hot drink with a plastic spoon. I couldn’t read the books over and over again because I couldn’t handle the post-Hogwarts come down. My life just seemed so un-special. I even had to develop my own mantra for the excitement crash – “at least MY world is REAL”. I found that if I repeated that to myself when I was mourning the Hogwarts life I never had, it would bring my feet back to the ground and my Hermione-based envy would slowly subside. (It was largely Hermione-based envy. She was always right in the thick of things, cheering on Harry, making out with Ron, making naughty potions... and I was always here in the real world, reading about her adventures and eating my non-magical toast with a jealous pout.)
You know when your Dad has to go into space to drill a hole in a comet so the world won’t be destroyed? Yeah, neither do I. Because my life isn’t cool like that (though my Dad is very cool. If the world had to be saved by irrigating a comet, he’d dominate). So when Bruce Willis had to save the world with his massive drill (amazingly, that’s not a euphemism) in Armageddon, I was totally jealous. No one requires my skills to save the world. To be fair, my skills are more along the lines of cracking inappropriate jokes and guessing the colour of Clinkers, so it’s not overly surprising that I’ve never been called on to be the world-saving hero. But I still feel depressed every time I watch that movie because I haven’t had the chance to sacrifice myself and drill into a world-threatening comet, forcing sexy Ben Affleck to cry with love into his space helmet as the rocket ship departs for Earth, leaving me there to save the world and make a moving satellite speech to my daughter Liv Tyler. Sure, it sounds ridiculous now, but when you compare it to my adventures of today - washing sheets and sending emails - the heroic martyrdom sounds pretty appealing.
|Augustus Gloop: He fell in a river of chocolate, and topped my list.|
It doesn’t even have to be a spectacular world-saving hero to make me envious. I get jealous of regular, everyday characters that just have a lot going on in their lives. Nina. Meredith Grey. Augustus Gloop. Veronica Mars. Dora The Explorer. Characters with regular human features and huge levels of excitement. I find my life quite exciting... sometimes. (Last week I went to Safeway instead of my regular Coles... living on the edge.) But as soon as I compare it to a character in a show/book/movie that I like, I turn green. And not in a cool dramatic way like the Incredible Hulk. In a jealous, alone in my own boring bedroom way... like the Incredible Sulk.
It’s all a bit nerdy, really. I do let my imagination run away**. That’s why it’s kind of good for me that Patrick died (that’s what I’m telling myself, to try and fill the Patrick-shaped hole in my heart), because it pretty much ended my Nina jealousy. It’s the one thing I don’t envy - fictional characters have to attend more funerals than the White Ladies. Patrick, Dumbledore, Lily Kane, Denny Duquette, all the Sharks and all the Jets... someone good always dies. If I really was one of the fictional characters I’m jealous of, I’d have to stock right up on black dresses and never get too attached to people. So, although I long for a bit more adventure in my day-to-day life, I know deep down (and was reminded by the douche who hit Patrick with his car) that I’m extremely happy and lucky to be me, in my pleasantly undramatic life, where I don’t have to worry too much about my loved ones regularly getting ‘Avada Kedvra’d and/or drinking poison and/or drilling holes in comets (though for God’s sake, everyone look both ways before you cross the street so you don’t get Patricked). There’s just one thing... please, pretty pretty please, for the envious sulker inside of me longing for an adventure worthy of a fictional character, promise me one thing...
If you ever need someone to destroy a comet, or take a bullet for the president, or find the Holy Grail, or break out of prison, or deliver a baby on top of a mountain, or save the world in a cape and high heels... call me. I’m so ready.
*No joke, after I read about Dumbledore’s death, I immediately joined the website www.dumbledoreisnotdead.com. It comfortably fed my denial... until JK confirmed in the next book that yes, D-dore was actually properly dead-dead.
** In fact, my imagination is the only part of me that is capable of running. The rest of me struggles with a slow jog.
By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She is probably not saving the world by drilling a comet, unfortunately.