You know you’ve been watching too much Dateline when a coworker is late and you automatically assume he has been murdered.
Granted, I wasn’t thinking this at 8:05. But by the time 10:30 rolled around and there was still no sign of Jake – a guy who is normally punctual to a fault – and calls to his cell phone were going straight to voicemail, my mind went to a very dark place.
He’s probably lying in a slowly congealing pool of blood on his living room floor, I messaged another coworker.
That’s ridiculous! she replied.
You’re right, I said. Most likely this crime occurred in the bedroom.
I’m not normally a morbid person. In fact, I pride myself on my optimism. But I’m not going to lie: I wasn’t wondering where Jake was, but rather, by which method he had met his untimely demise. I figured he had either been stabbed, shot, or strangled. I offered to text his cousin, with whom I am friends, but his supervisor said he “didn’t want to send anybody into a panic unnecessarily.”
“He’s two and a half hours late!” I said. “Rigor mortis has probably already set in. We really should do something. It’s not like he’s going to walk in the door five minutes from now and say he overslept.”
Five minutes later Jake walked in the door, saying he had overslept.
Somebody had egg on his face.
So, maybe I do have a problem. But at least I’m getting a good cardio workout. You know…jumping to conclusions…
In fact, I have been obsessed with true crime for as long as I can remember. Back in 1986 there was a made-for-television movie about Ted Bundy starring Mark Harmon, and man, I ate that shit up. Started reading Ann Rule books and learning as much as I could about serial killers. Silence of the Lambs helped stoke those embers further. I once called my cable company and begged them to add I.D. (Investigation Discovery) to my channel lineup. A year later, they actually did, and I was able to binge on forensics and true crime to my heart’s content.
And yeah, I have to get my weekly fix of Dateline. I like to praise the series for its production values and tightly crafted episodes brimming with suspense and Keith Morrison’s often-poetic dialogue, but when you get right down to it, I really just want to see who killed who and why.
So when another coworker said, “Hey, you like Dateline – check out the Serial Podcast,” I was all aboard. And I’m glad for the recommendation. I started listening this week and was instantly hooked. Let’s just say if you like true crime and murder mysteries, this podcast is right up your dark alley.
A word of warning, though: get hooked on it like I did, and the next time your coworker shows up late, you too might be asking yourself whether he was bludgeoned by a crowbar, tire iron or golf club…