Podcast-Porn: A Cautionary Tale From an Overly Obsessed Armchair Detective

You know that feeling, the surge of adrenaline when your favorite True Crime Podcast has dropped the latest episode? Your heart blooms, your stomach tightens, and your breath catches, and then what do you do? Open it? Listen to it, right then and there? Yes, typically, that’s what some people do—rational, normal people, that is.

You admit it YOU ARE OBSESSED WITH TRUE CRIME PODCASTS. So, instead of listening to the latest immediately, you save the episode for later, like while driving on the Freeway, or tackling last night’s dinner dishes, or doing laundry. And then after it’s over, you move on, right? Guess what, that’s not an obsession, that’s obsession’s sideshow cousin, heightened interest.

I’m talking about an obsession, obsession. I’m talking about an all-consuming, can’t sleep, and can’t function until you listen to it, passion. I’m talking about real devotion, borderline insanity, where, for 58 minutes (give or take), you are in podcast-utopian-mania, that kind of obsession.

You know to think, feel, or act this way about something so inanimate isn’t right. And the fact that it’s centered around the missing, unexplained crime and grizzly murders, is downright wrong! So, what do you do? You hide it.

Slyly sliding your phone into your pocket, you slink away. You sneak someplace where there are no other distractions, where no one else will peek over your shoulder and judge. You find somewhere, preferably small, and usually (for some reason) with lousy lighting, like your bathtub, parked car, or inside a walk-in closet.

You don’t want to be found out. You don’t want to explain why you’re hiding beneath a row of khakis hanging over your face just so you can listen secretly just so you don’t have to feel so wrong.

It’s not your interest in true crime, your concern for victims, or for knowledge gathering (just in case you too find yourself in danger) that might be a little off-kilter. Nor is it your insatiable, incurable curiosity that’s erroneous. It’s how you respond to the Podcast, like a formless lover, that’s not quite right.

You’re not stupid. You know this feeling isn’t exactly healthy. You understand that people always talk about specific Podcasts here and there. But, the way you feel when you see a new episode has dropped in your queue, it’s like a long lost longshoreman has washed up on the coast after being marooned for three years. So, yeah, you’re there waiting on the preverbal beach in your metaphorical negligee—Howdy, Sailor!  I’m talking that kind of wrong, W.R.O.N.G. in all caps! Can anything be worse? Yep.

Picture it, as we’ve established, you’re obsessed with True Crime, where binge listening and note gathering is a given. But, you have gone on to do more extensive research. You’ve now developed an intricate web of connections to every unsolved case in history. You have labeled volumes of crime intersections lined up numerically in your bookcase. You’ve signed up for online web sleuthing forums, and even left a comment or two, or fifty. Then what? The end of your perverse podcasted world is what!

Like all highs, you know it’s going to end, eventually. You know how it goes, the finale episode is released, the question and answer chapters have run, and proposals have been asked and answered. Podcast tours have finished traveling the globe (you’ve even purchased tickets to several sold-out shows in the process), but what about the crime? Is it solved? Nope!

The show’s done, over, finished, but you don’t understand how someone vanished or why, and you don’t know whodunnit. Officially, the series is through, but you’re not. What happens next? Podcast-psychosis? Episodic-withdrawal? You bet! You’re an addict remember?

There’ s the longing, the letdown, breaking out in cold sweats, the downer’s malaise of wondering, what happened, and now what? What are you supposed to do now? Go out? Socialize? Leave the comfort of your carpeted cocoon, aka your bedroom closet? Get a life? No way!

No way, because you are a junkie, but it’s not your fault! I mean, who do you blame, the druggie or the drug supplier? I’ll tell you who. It’s those terrible, terrible, and delicious Podcasts that cause this epidemic! They’re info-dealers.

Podcasters say they want to bring attention to a crime not solved. They promise that they, and they alone, are going to crack the code, unravel the mystery, and arbitrate justice D.C. Comics-style!  And you believe them because they are masters at constructing a story, pebbling it with evidence and elicit innuendos, and then yanking the rug out from under you. It’s the ol’ bait ‘n switch!

To a true crime junkie, it’s the equivalent of showing pornography to the erectile-dysfunction crowd. It’s just plain malicious! That’s the real conspiracy! So what’s my point? Am I just sick? Am I just plain delusional? No, not really.

I know I can’t solve these cases. In fact, I know I’m the last person who will stumble on the one piece of evidence to thaw a cold case. For one, I don’t have a degree in criminality or behavioral science. Second, I haven’t spent twenty-years interviewing psychopaths and serial killers behind prison bars. That’s the problem, and that’s why I’m writing this!

I’m not just obsessed with True Crime podcasts I’m a Murder-Mystery masochist. Consider me your PSA or public safety announcement (or rather your Podcast safety announcer).

I’m writing this to help you come out of the closet (reserve that for clothes and shoes, only). I’m writing to be your cautionary tale, because I don’t want you, any of you, to end up like me.

 

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