My Two Cents
February 1, 2018, 12:00 AM

The Upside Down

When supper is finished, the dishes are done and there’s time to sit down and watch a little TV before bed, science fiction programs aren’t normally our first choice. But the buzz around “Stranger Things” grew too loud to ignore. So last fall we began watching.

What do you get when you mix an irresistible band of middle school buddies and their big brothers and sisters with a few really scary monsters, and put them in a small Indiana town where a top secret government laboratory has taken up residence? Stranger Things-   a fun, creative TV series sprinkled generously with startling surprises. But also a series that offers a compelling image- the Upside Down.

In Stranger Things, the Upside Down is a    parallel universe where nothing is certain and fear is the order of the day. It’s easy to get tripped in the Upside Down. And when you fall, there are forces at work that make it hard to get back up. Desperation is the order of the day in the Upside Down. And the kicker is this. Even though most people don’t know it’s there, the Upside Down exists right beside normal life.


Life is good for most of us, like it is for the folks in Stranger Things. This isn’t to say we don’t have our trials and tribulations. We live with pain and loss. We work hard at jobs we don’t always love. We worry. Sometimes we worry a lot. But, most of us do all of this from a living situation that is generally comfortable, free of fear and desperation.

Meanwhile, there is an alternative universe that is very real and very close to us. There are pockets of fear and desperation right around the corner, or downtown maybe, that most of us don’t even see. Or, if we do see them, we are easily able to look away when they get too scary. In real life the Upside Down is a function of poverty, not subterranean creatures. But the      realities are the same. Trip once, and life may never be the same again.

Without giving too much away, those clever    middle school kids figured out how to deal with the Upside Down. They entered it. They found a way to diminish its power by becoming vulnerable.

Makes me think that maybe those of us who enjoy the comfort of easy evenings in front of the TV need to figure out how to do the same thing.