There are only two kinds of people in this world– those who watch Lost, and those who find those who watch Lost super-annoying. It’s a funny experience, being a Lost fan. It’s like how in high school there were several groups of nerds, but only a few of those groups seemed to understand how nerdy they were, and seemed to take a peculiar kind of enjoyment in their nerdiness despite their knowledge of how nerdy they were (in most cases, it’s the drama nerds, right?) That’s Lost fans. Trust me, I know how ridiculous we are. I know what it sounds like for us to sit around in public places and talk about the smoke monster and the golden tunnel at the center of the island in hushed, solemn tones. It’s not like we think that kind of stuff makes us cool. It’s just that we think it makes us better than you. Even if it makes us look like idiots.
We Losties have been through things together that you’ll never understand. Any time you meet someone with a deep, sad wisdom about them, you know you’re talking to a Lost fan. What if you had spent six whole years as part of a community pondering deep mysteries and discussing deep truths, and sometimes getting scared to death, and sometimes getting really frustrated, and sometimes wondering why that fat guy is still so fat after six years stranded on an island. (Just kidding- that last one is only something the haters wonder. The fans don’t care, so stop acting like it matters). Maybe that doesn’t sound like anything life-changing to you, but when you’ve done it together, as fellow nerds, you learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before. Like when this one guy acted like he was a part of the airplane survivors group, but really he was just hanging around to steal Claire’s baby, and when they figured it out, he had already kidnapped Claire, and when a huge posse went after him, he beat the crap out of all of them together, and actually strung a guy up in vines, and he never gave up. Well, I’m not sure we ever completely figured out why all of that happened, and certainly not why he seemed to have superpowers, but we did learn that with hard work and a good support group, you can pretty much kidnap anyone you want to, no matter how intimidating it seems.
And that’s kind of a small sample of what Lost fans have gone through over and over. Something crazy happens, and it’s fascinating and crazy and completely absorbing. And you watch and watch to get to explanations of why so-and-so would do that or how thus-and-such is possible. And in the end, far more often than not, you never find out the thus-and-such, but you do find out a little bit more about the so-and-so’s, and it turns out that’s pretty much the only thing the show cares about in the first place. In other words, Lost is a soap opera about people, but in disguise as a sci-fi/island mystery, but the mystery part is only really there to keep you engaged in the soap opera. In fact, it turns out the mystery is really only half a mystery, because all the crazy stuff that happens propels the story forward in this crazy, intriguing way, but most of it is never explained or resolved or answered in any satisfying way.
So, based on the above, I’m sure all you unbelievers can start to see why your nerdier friends and neighbors feel a little superior to you this week, after going on a journey like that. I’m not saying they’re right. Just that they’ve been through something you’ll never understand, and that something gives them knowledge of the light that animates all humanity, and helps them see themselves as saviors of our race, and teaches them not to take you too seriously, because you’re probably already dead. So yeah, they probably are a little superior to you, actually.
Me and two buddies were having lunch in a restaurant last week, when the conversation turned to Lost. Two of us talked through some of the remaining questions, and shared some important feelings about our journey, while the other one laughed at us for exposing these emotions. Meanwhile, everyone sitting around us could certainly hear most of our conversation, about the Roman lady who started the island club, and the invention of the donkey wheel that moves the island through space and time, and the way it melds water and light to transport people to, um, Tunisia. So obviously, most of those people were a little jealous of us, with all our answers to life’s big questions. I started realizing how awkward they must feel in our presence. But in the end, it turns out we’re really not much better than them. We don’t really have most of the answers either. But we have asked the big questions- something those workplace drones have never done. And we’ll go through life a little better prepared for that inevitable encounter all of us have with the smoke monster. The smoke monster of our own destiny. Or maybe the smoke monster of sickness, or unemployment, or shyness. Whatever it is, we’ll be able to look deeply into it, and see that it is beautiful. And then we’ll move the plug out of the hot tub in the center of the island to make the smoke monster mortal and then we’ll chase it for a while and then just shoot it, and it will die, like a normal dude.
It sounds complicated, but trust me, it’s very deep. And you’ll never understand, so don’t try. LOST.