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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 10.08.13
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

Breaking Bad news

I can't bear to look at the news this week. It's just too difficult. It could ruin everything. I might accidentally find out how "Breaking Bad" ends.

"Breaking Bad," if you haven't been paying attention, is the recently concluded American television series about a man who uses his skills as a high school chemistry teacher to begin cooking and selling meth in order to pay his medical bills. This scenario makes me feel much less guilty about using my work-acquired QuarkXpress skills to lay out my mother-in-law's Christmas newsletter.

"Breaking Bad" is also about the people in star Walter White's life who are too stupid to catch on to his criminal antics. At least I assume they never catch on; I'm only on Season 2 of 6, the part where someone's head ends up on a turtle's back. Coincidentally, this exact thing happened in an early episode of "Bewitched," except with less decapitation.

I've been watching the series on DVD for a year and a half, and I still don't know what's breaking or why that's especially bad. Maybe I'll learn later.

It's taken so long to get only this far because sometimes after a hard day at work you don't feel like an hour of bleak, drug-fueled societal misery coupled with the triumph of human darkness in the name of pragmatism, interspersed with cancer. Sometimes you just want something lighter, like watch "Big Bang Theory" or update your will.

But I will watch it all eventually, because this is how I do television these days. I purchase a series on DVD, maybe once it's two or three seasons along. That way I can be assured that the show I'm about to invest in is quite good, that it's worth watching, that it's not "2 Broke Girls."

I say I will watch the "Breaking Bad" conclusion but there are no guarantees. Perhaps I will fall out of love with the series or lose interest. It happens sometimes. For example, at this point, I no longer really care How He Met Their Mother.

But from what I understand, the finale of "Breaking Bad" was phenomenal, so much so that it was all over the news this week.

Consequently, I don't dare try to learn about the U.S. government shut-down for fear of happening upon a headline that screams, "'Breaking Bad' ends with Bollywood musical number" or something else that ruins the surprise (although if some news site announces "'Breaking Bad' finale gets 'high' ratings," well, hat's off to you, headline writer).

I go on Salon.com to read about atrocities in Syria and right there on their content page, "The three biggest MacGyver moments from the 'Breaking Bad' finale." Yikes! Now I know the conclusion had something to do with a bag of potato chips, a blow torch, and Martha Raye's dentures, which is the only MacGyver moment I can think of that makes sense in the context of the show.

I go on CNN.com to see if there's anything more about the recent student massacre in Nigeria and I'm hit with "'Breaking Bad' goes out with a bang" and "'SNL' spoofs 'Breaking Bad' finale." Nope, nope, nope! I never did find out about the slaughter, but I did learn that "'Panda cam' to go dark in government shut down" and "Drew Barrymore's daughter turns 1!"

On the CBC website, trying to find out whether Canadians are the least bit peeved about the prorogation of parliament, there it is: "'Breaking Bad' withdrawal sets in as fans say goodbye to series." Well played on the "withdrawal" pun, CBC headline writer. Well played.

There's no way I can even sneak onto Facebook at work to see who's ranting over the latest slight to feminism for fear of reading someone's status update: "Just watched the 'Breaking Bad' finale -- Weed whackers! Muppets! Karl Rove twerking! Pinball! Just wow!" I certainly can't change my own status to read, "Please don't tell me about the 'Breaking Bad' conclusion" because that would just bait my Facebook friends into spoiling the surprise. Maybe I should get better Facebook friends. Or not go on Facebook. You see the sacrifices I'm forced to undergo!

So until I watch the important finale of "Breaking Bad," I'm afraid I'll have to remain ignorant of current events for a while -- at this rate, for the next four years. "Dexter" might mean another two.

Or I guess I could just start reading newspapers again.

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through www.townships.ca. He can be reached at ross_murray@sympatico.ca.

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