I never cared for the television show House, M.D. As a loyal E.R. fan, I believed Gregory House's limp was stolen from the female curmudgeon Kerry Weaver, the Cooke County administrator who made Doug Ross flee to Seattle in the early years of the millennium.
When I flipped channels and caught House treating a young girl who defecated from her mouth instead of her anus, I was even more convinced that this show was not worth my attention.
But now I own season 2 on DVD, and I love the show.
When watching a program from season opener to finale, you have a chance to curl up in bed with your laptop, dim the lights, and watch episodes without the bother of commercial interruption. You suspend your disbelief willingly as you prop yourself up on a pillow and join the characters in their imaginary worlds.
Those who once claimed that digital books would not be popular because you can't "curl up with a computer" are no longer voicing objections. They're too busy watching marathon episodes of Lost on their D drives.
But back to Gregory House.
I found that watching his journey over a series of hours gave me a chance to understand why the show has remained popular over the past five years. I used to find Hugh Laurie's performance over the top, unworthy of Paul McCrane's Rocket Romano or Laura Innes' Kerry Weaver, but now I'm not so quick to dismiss him.
What surprises me most during my marathon viewings is how much House cares about other people. The definition of an egotist is generally one who cannot see beyond his own reflection, and House rarely looks in the mirror, if at all.
His best friend Dr. Wilson regularly scolds him for being miserable, telling him that being miserable "doesn't make you special."
How many of us could use that lesson right now? Aren't we picturing ourselves as martyrs as we give up a day at the spa because the economy isn't permitting us to pamper ourselves the way it used to?
And isn't that why we find curling up with television so comforting right now?
Curling up with this program reminds me why being a miserable hermit can be so enjoyable and yet so dangerous. While I watch multiple episodes of network television on my laptop, the world continues to turn. People are experiencing life while I live it through a fictional man with a cane.