Band of Brothers
The Hunger Games
The Maze Runner
The Walking Dead
American Horror Story
This is a story that my grandfather liked to tell. It’s kind of long, and I can’t say if it’s true, but it seems to fit the very old and cantankerous guy I knew, who never, ever let a grudge go. I mean, in the 1980s and 90s, he would sometimes go and yell at Democratic candidates for office, because Woodrow Wilson had made him fight in WW1.
The story actually starts with that, kind of. You see, Grampa immigrated to the US early enough that the first election he could vote in, he voted for Teddy Roosevelt. Wilson won, though, and then he ran for reelection under the slogan “He Kept Us Out of the War.” Which seemed like a good platform, so my grandfather voted for Wilson. Few months after that, he got us into the war, and a few months after that, my grandfather was in the trenches somewhere in France.
Imagine explaining secondhand embarrassment and how we will
repeatedly watch things that cause it even though it makes us so uncomfortable.
Zorgk and Lt. Susan Manhym were assigned to be partners after
Captain Monty discovered that Private Rob was purposely feeding the Jarthinark misinformation
about the Humans for fun. The Captain
wanted every Human and Jarthinark to bond and thought that making bonding time mandatory
would be successful.
Zorgk did not see how this would be beneficial to their
treaty but they know better than to question a Human custom. Human Susan begged
Zorgk to watch her favorite Human picture or ‘movie’ as they call it. Zorgk didn’t
understand how it could be beneficial to their partnership but Human Susan was
excited and he knew that refusing would not
be beneficial to their relationship.
Human Susan spent most of the movie attempting to convince
them that Pride and Prejudice was a ‘classic’.
Zorgk decided to play along and learn much about Human Susan’s interests in
hope that they would remain friendly as having a Human enemy was more dangerous
that having a Human partner. Zorgk was fascinated at the nonsense that intrigued
Human Susan and noticed that the Human referred to as ‘Mr. Collins’ was being
decidedly annoying and rude to the ‘Ms. Elizabeth’. One of Zorgk’s eyes adjusts
to view Human Susan and her face was transformed into a cringe of painful
“Human Susan, why is your face like that? Are you in pain?” Zorgk
questioned frantically, “Do you need a medic?”
Susan laughed and waved off their concern, explaining “I always
get secondhand embarrassment watching the train wreck that is Mr. Collins. He’s
“Secondhand…embarrassment? Zorgk asked slowly.
“Yeah,” Susan paused, trying to phrase her explanation, “Basically,
when we watch something awkward, it can cause an involuntary response of
embarrassment for them, the characters. It’s a form of empathy.”
“Empathy?” Zorgk had begun to take notes that would surely
be added to the “Human Manual”, “For a fictional human?”
“Yeah, it’s like feeling and understanding what others feel,
but with the situations we watch. It
sucks sometimes, especially if we love the movie.”
“Human Susan. You have stated that this movie is a ‘classic’
which insinuates that it is revered in your society and watched by all. Your
kind seeks out secondhand embarrassment, for entertainment?” Zorgk questions, accustomed
to ever changing ways of Humans.
“No, no, no. We watch the movie for Mr. Darcy and Ms.
Elizabeth.” Susan laughs again, “Mr. Collins is an unfortunate causality we
must endure for the sake of the story.”
Zorgk sits back confused but willing to accept Human Susan’s
response. She wasn’t like Human Rob who like to spread misinformation. Susan
and Zorgk took to watching that movie every fifth sol to fulfill their bonding
requirement and sometimes they’d watch other movies. Around the fourth time
that Zorgk watched Mr. Collins possessively dance with Ms. Elizabeth or request
her hand in marriage, Zorgk finally understood. Mr. Collins was a walking train