While hiding out from COVID-19, I began a love affair with Netflix, Amazon, Showtime and HBO. My initiation into binge-watching was subtle — until it wasn’t. Marathon viewing included, but was not limited to: “The Affair,” “Dead to Me,” “Ozark,” “Liar” and “This Much I Know is True. “

Although these binge-worthy series covered a wide range of film genres, they have one thing in common. These folks lived messy lives.

“The Affair” highlights the main characters, Noah and Allison, both married to other folks. Noah has four children. This duo failed to discipline their biological urges and indulged in an affair. Good Lord! Chaos reigned — lies and murder for starters. Plot twists, turns and full-on drama continued through five seasons. My unsolicited advice. Don’t. Just don’t!

“Dead to Me” finds two grieving women (right up my alley) Jen and Judy who form a bond during a grief seminar. One wrong decision sends these gals spiraling into a netherworld. It’s dark, funny and a tad scary. I cannot wait for season three.

“Ozark” centers on the Byrd family. Marty, Wendy and their kids Josh and Charlotte relocate from Chicago when their money laundering activities go south. They are constantly in crisis mode throughout the three seasons. Yikes! Life working for — and running from — a drug cartel is not for me.

“Liar” finds Laura and Andrew blissfully drinking wine on a first date. There is no denying the attraction. However, their attraction proves lethal. It has far-reaching consequences for them, their friends and family. This theme is literally played out all across the globe. Just not in Jamesport!

“This Much I Know is True” is an adaption of the Wally Lamb novel of the same name. I read the book eons ago. I found it hopeful and profoundly moving. Interesting: Mark Ruffalo stars in the two roles: He plays Dominic, the caregiver. And his schizophrenic brother Thomas.

I enjoyed watching all this drama play out on TV; but it stops here. Yet, many folks live very messy “really-real” lives. Sometimes when vulnerable (or sometimes not) we make wrong choices. And to boot we know they are wrong! We may sacrifice our values for a momentary fling thinking it will shelter us from pain. Life is bound to become tricky. Covering one’s tracks is laborious.

I read that the surge of divorce is anticipated in the wake of COVID-19. I suppose being penned up with someone could become a tad suffocating. COVID may have caused some couples to look into the mirror of truth.

Either they found they really loved each other, or they married for the wrong reasons. Perhaps they had children when they were not monetarily or emotionally ready. And now, looking back, they wonder about lost opportunities.

Some folks are drowning in debt. Lacking self-discipline they bought the house with the pool and now their health is suffering. Lying awake worried about money is almost as bad as being chased down by a drug cartel. OK, banks are kinder.

I have always maintained you cannot rewrite history. What happened—happened. Yet some folks live in denial — and denying reality does not defeat reality.

Sure, it’s painful to remember our blunders or downright disasters. However, psychologists caution that when one buries the truth it will reveal itself one way or the other. And metaphorically speaking, it’s a bloody mess.

A series of small wrong decisions, stuffing oneself with fast-food, drinking one to many, or neglecting to hug or kiss one’s spouse or significant other can accumulate and boil over, causing — you guessed it — a mess.

Redirecting our messes into Facebook and other social media, playing video games, drinking too much and promiscuity may bring momentary relief. Note the word “momentary.”

During my God-given time on this earth, I have witnessed folks who lived with fear as their constant companion. They live restrictive lives, avoid meeting new people or engage in new activities.

A wonderful chance to experience something new is fraughted by fear of the unknown. Fearful, they stay on the same track — even when the track is broken and leads to a dead end.

Many folks live life with fists in the air. Defense is their default mode — and they are not being chased by a drug cartel. Instead, they are being chased by their own demons. When the truth threatens to make itself known, they pick up their boxing gloves and turn the tables — dishes and all. The breakage is monumental.

Come to think of it, I’ve had some messes that I worked at cleaning up. Not so drastic as infidelity or money laundering, but still.

Our lives are very much like a TV series — maybe less drama, or maybe more. But life will turn on us, something will go wrong, we can make bet on that.

Not a problem! When it happens, yell “Plot twist!” and move on.

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Celia Marszal-Iannelli
Celia Iannelli is a native New Yorker enjoying a second career — in 'retirement' — as a freelance writer. She lives in Jamesport.