Sitting in front of my laptop late at night (early morning actually), lights off, slightly buzzed on nicotine, unable to sleep, mind racing. What should I talk to her about? What do normal people say after “Hello”? ok, you introduce yourself… and then? Casual fun stuff… like? Why can’t I think of anything like that right now?

I take a vape, and then another, and then another… the room is fogged up now, can see clouds go by in the slight light of the monitor. I hate doing normal things. What do not-normal people talk about? What goes through their mind? Is this the path to becoming not-normal, just thinking about it? Now I really can’t go to bed.

How come I’ve been wondering about this so much? Might be all the serial killer shows that I’ve been binging on lately. Three of them stand out: Manhunt: Unabomber, Mr. Mercedes and Mindhunter. It is nice to see that we don’t live in a time where “good” and “bad” are shown as just distinct opposites with nothing in between, when you’re either one or the other (still waiting for the moment when people will acknowledge that there’s a bit of both in all of us, without feeling like that is wrong or a surprise…).

The focus on the antagonist’s psyche is what I found interesting (and in my opinion pushes the stories forward). Manhunt is a fictionalised account of the apprehension of Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber. Mr Mercedes is based on Stephen King’s 2014 novel with the same name while Mindhunter is inspired by FBI agent John E. Douglas’ book. (This is not a review, I recommend watching all three shows).

Mindhunter (Manhunt also and obviously Mr Mercedes to a lesser degree) goes to great length in order to show us villains as close to real as possible, at times with chilling effect. In one scene, agent Ford, the protagonist, meets Edmund Kemper who nonchalantly walks in, sits down and even offers him a drink and something to eat in the most casual way possible. The fact that he is a prisoner and in handcuffs does not seem to hinder him at all. Even more powerful is the fact that the script uses parts of an interview he gave while in prison.

Part of the actual interview:

He seems like a normal person. Yes, appearances can be deceiving. I am also aware that a comparison between a fictional character and a real person is futile. So, what the hell am I trying to say?

My point is normal and not-normal are not that far apart (I agree that my example is kind of extreme though). Maybe it’s just a matter of perspective, maybe it’s just me trying to rationalise my fascination with darkness in the human mind, maybe I’m just tired and rambling on…

I’m not normal but that’s normal. How about you?


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