Thursday, September 10, 2009

Boredom: The Lurking Killer

Are you bored? Tired? Slowed down by the pace of a dragging day? Sick and tired of being sick and tired? That's dangerous. And protracted boredom can be deadly. You have heard people exclaim how "bored to death" they are that they feel like "shooting" themselves. The origin and development of this run down, exaggerated statement will surprise you.
        Those who grew up in the 1980's may remember a TV actor and model by the name of Jon-Erik Hexum, whose rise to stardom was ended in a tragic fate of Russian roulette during one of the long intermittent delays that plagued his television series tapings. Early on in the aftermath, fans, co-stars, and the TV crew alike were not ready to believe that Jon-Erik died by his own hands. This is where the incident becomes controversial. Negligence for safety was filed against the studio management of CBS. Years later, his co-stars would continue to point to the gross disregard to in-house safety procedure. But when viewed in the context of boredom, the circumstances surrounding his accident will appear grimly disturbing.
        The production shoots of the television series “Cover Up” at this time was plagued with long periods of intermittent delays, and Jon-Erik rose from a nap he inadvertently took on the on-set bed during one of these “break times.” He was weary and overworked, as were the other cast members and crew, being compelled to stay at the studio for up to 18 hours a day. In his attempt to occupy the complacency, however, he turned to the prop guns they were using on the set. This has been an established fact.
        His favorite was the .44 Magnum designated to the character he played. For some unexplained logic, this gun was left in his possession, ungathered by the props master, even throughout the length of the break time. This gun had ventured with Jon-Erik to his dressing room, twirled around his palm, raised and aimed at just about anything he fancied, much to the ire of co-star Jennifer O’Niell who once fumed over Jon-Erik’s haphazard handling of the prop pistols.
        Now, Jon-Erik reaches once again for its now-familiar grip. He sees the time and realizes the tediousness of nothing to do. In what seems to him as harmless dabbling, he unloads all the blank bullets but one, then locks back the chamber section. He spins it, watching its form blur in speed and progressively regain its details as it slows and stops. If only break time would end as soon as the chamber stops; but it seemed that not a minute had advanced at all! In exasperation, Jon-Erik, for what would be the last time, raises his .44, with the barrel’s firing end at his head. Squeezing the trigger, the studio reverberates with the sound of a gunshot. Amidst black smoke, Jon-Erik was screaming in agony, his head baptized in blood. As people around dashed to his aid, Jon-Erik slips into a coma, from which he will never awake. In the hospital, despite intubation and life support, he was pronounced brain dead after six days.
        Jon-Erik’s death is not merely a lesson on careless recklessness. It reveals the subtle power of boredom and complacency. Management experts understand that a dragging momentum is as much a serious factor into committing fatal errors as the oversights incurred in a headlong scramble. And not only was Jon-Erik a victim of this, as claimed by his co-stars, but the props people as well, as manifested by their deliberate disregard of the studio’s safety protocols. There was, and will be, no logical excuse for anyone in the studio at that time in violating safety standards. This is the nature of a mistake committed out of boredom.

Check out my recently published content on AC:

Coping with the Complication and the Hidden Danger of Boredom and Complacency

1 comment:

  1. If this would be made public to the common kids and adults all around town, cities and villages, who are bereft of this knowledge, there would be less desire to venture into the unknown by impulsive kicks taking their own lives.