Before we have our collective mind-grapes blown next Tuesday. LOST has been with me - and reshaping daily my perceptions of the extant universe, creative storytelling, symbolism, time travel, effective characterization, and, of course, the need in our lives for mystery - since my sophomore year of high school, which was, like, a long time ago.
Consider: My cousin Eilean freshly married. It's a chilly night in early-to-mid November, 2004, and she's being a good sport about babysitting Sean and I while my parents are someplace vaguely exotic (Mexico? Las Vegas? Florida? Any which way, they came back with Kahlua). I don't really appreciate The West Wing, which is her favorite show, so I'm hesitant to try this new "mystery-drama thing that's really intriguing." Yeah, right, Eilean. But she turns it on anyway, probably out of a desire to keep me shut up between commercial breaks - I was a gabber then. Turns out what we were watching was the broadcast debut of episode 1.11 (this is how episodes are numbered, as I would come to discover), "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues." Well, Charlie was hung by a madman who hadn't been on the plane. And then at the end Boone and Locke unearthed a piece of metal... and began digging. If I had known how much longer I'd have to keep watching for that piece of metal to make any sense, I probably would have stopped. But I didn't, so I kept going. Even after Eilean gave up somewhere around Season 2...
Consider: Me trying to hook Curtis on the show. We camped out in Wal-Mart's (yeah, it still had a hyphen back then) DVD section until midnight, when an annoyingly skinny girl with dyed red hair wheeled in a dolly of new-release boxes. "Waiting for something?" she asked. I nodded, then said "LOST." I was very, very embarrassed to not only be at Wal-Mart, but camped out in its DVD section at midnight on a school night. We watched episode after episode until neither of us could keep our eyes open. "I should get some sleep," I said. "I've got to orient Freshmen EARLY tomorrow morning." Literally five minutes later, before I'd even put my head on a makeshift pillow, Sean entered the room. "AJ. Get up. We have to go to school." True story.
Consider: Losing faith during my freshman year in college under the false belief that season 3 was going nowhere. I stand before you now fully willing to admit that I was dead wrong, and I find solace only in the fact that Jack Shepherd is also a symbol for lost faith. Plus, now he lives in Bend.
Consider: How the hell this thing's going to end! I don't predict any outcome in which I'm even the slightest bit disappointed. I mean, I'm now a straight-up believer in the brilliance of LOST. It's shown me time and again that the crazier shit gets, the more it knows what it's doing. Already I feel a little hole in my heart where LOST belongs, because although I'm SO STOKED for a brand new season I'm also sad that this is, in fact, the beginning of the end. It's like Harry Potter 7 all over again, and I can't decide which has been a more formative experience.
Is it a sign of extreme nerdiness that my friends and I actually debate that very topic? And that some of them instead opt for Lord of the Rings?