• Nancy Mendelson

IS IT ME??


The Twilight Zone, "The Eye of the Beholder," Season 2, Episode 6

Dear Readers,


In the spirit of transparency and full disclosure, nobody wrote in this week so, since we’re all friends here, I’m taking advantage of my weekly hertelier slot to unpack some of my own frustrations. Perhaps you will identify.


It’s been a week!!!! Has it been for you too? In a strange way, I hope it has because the number of times in a day I ask myself “is it me?” is multiplying exponentially, and I’d like to believe that I’m not alone in wondering WTF is going on here!!!

If you’ve ever watched my favorite episode of the Twilight Zone, “Eye of the Beholder” (Season 2, Episode 6) or as I like to call it, The Pig-Faced People, then you know exactly what I mean:


Throughout most of the 30-minute episode, the main character, Janet Taylor, in a hospital bed surrounded by doctors and nurses whose faces we never see. Her head is completely wrapped in bandages because she has undergone countless plastic surgeries in a desperate attempt to look "normal." She begs the doctor to remove the bandages, and when he does, the audible gasps of horror convey to us that the surgery was unsuccessful. Which is both fascinating and distressing…because, by our standards, Janet is beautiful. When the camera pulls back, we finally see the ugly, disfigured swine-like faces of the doctors and nurses and soon discover that everyone in this world looks exactly like them…and Janet is the freak.

It’s not like I’ve never felt like this before. Pre-pandemic I would be in an in-person meeting and often when something ridiculous or cringeworthy was happening, I could scan the room for a sign of support…a knowing glance or comforting eyebrow raise of acknowledgment and confirmation that it wasn’t just me…that I wasn’t alone in my perceptions.


But during the past year of excruciating zoom calls, it has been virtually impossible to have that kind of interaction, especially because most people have perfected the poker face…and I have not. So, I put up my perpetually smiling retouched headshot, and make all the faces I want, but that feels empty because there’s no real connection with anyone else…no “we’re in this together.”


Yesterday I told a friend I felt like I had an inner lint trap that was overflowing with all the petty annoyances and unspoken grievances I’d let accumulate…and that it was clogging up the works.


By allowing me to "unpack it" with you, dear Readers, my lint trap is clear again…so I encourage you to drop me a line, even if it’s just to vent. It really does help.


Thank you!!!