I've always been so taken with that scene in The Deer Hunter where Robert DeNiro tries to explain to an uncomprehending John Cazale that the bullet in his hand really is the bullet in his hand, and not something else.
Sitting on the hood of of that beat-up cadillac, he holds the bullet up for Cazale to see, points to it and angrily declares:
There are a lot of ways to say what he's trying to say -- many ways to try and talk about the problem of denial -- but his is certainly one of my favorites. It speaks to the heart of practical vampire slaying, and to the uncomfortable first step we have to take before we can even hope to be free of our vampires: The step where we admit to ourselves that our vampires really are vampires, and not something else.
That intruding and advice-giving neighbor who can
That isolating and critical spouse who is never satisfied
It's funny how hard that can be to see, isn't it?
Maybe the truth is so hard to see because we're nice guys and really like to give people (and vampires) the benefit of the doubt; or maybe it's just hard to admit because we fear the prospect of having to revoke our invitations -- either way, the fact of the matter remains:
"The strength of the vampire
Or so Van Helsing warns us in the 1931 movie version of Dracula. And I, for one, take him at his word.
Next Time: Reminder On Diagnostics