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The Man Who Eats Livers

My favorite “X-Files” episode is about a dead guy who comes back to life every 30 years and eats five human livers in order to come back to life every 30 years.

I don’t really understand the premise, but it doesn’t matter. Some people will do anything for a nice pate, no matter what its source might be.

FBI agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder deal with the liver-eater with such wit and daring that he has already appeared in two episodes of the show and may be back for more.

The reason I mention all this is because I dropped by an “X-Files” convention the other day in Pasadena, attended by 2,500 drooling fans, many of whom look upon the show as a series of documentaries.

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This may seem odd to those who don’t believe in space monsters, poltergeists, past-life regression, astral projection or demonic possession, but they’ve just got to accept the fact that a lot of people do.

I like the show because it’s odd and strange and eerie and weird, all of which offers cosmic relief from the 11 o’clock news. I’d rather take my chances with a guy who eats livers than with a car full of gangbangers armed with automatic rifles.

The stars of “X-Files,” David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, are perfect as Mulder and Scully, agents who deal with paranormal situations. One of the fans at the convention showed me a picture of herself with Duchovny, whose eyes are half-closed and whose distant expression indicates he might have been in touch with something strange and wonderful at that very moment.

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Two of the X-philes, which is what the fans call themselves (as in Anglophile or pedophile), describe themselves as super-fans. They are Paula Mackey, 26, and Guy Jackson, 39.

Unlike the groupies who sleep with rock and roll drummers or swoon in ecstasy when Michael Jackson does a pelvic push, Mackey and Jackson are computer experts who neither lust over the stars of their favorite show nor faint when Duchovny manages a faint smile, which is seldom.

True, they collect mountains of memorabilia and can recite from memory the contents of every episode, but they refuse to throw themselves at anyone’s feet.

The single break in their otherwise cool demeanor comes with the mention of Mitch Pileggi’s name in Mackey’s presence. Pileggi, who is somber and bald, plays the part of FBI director Skinner. Mackey looks upon him as the show’s only true sex symbol.

She wears a badge over her “X-Files” T-shirt that bears the initials “MPEB.” It stands for Mitch Pileggi Estrogen Brigade. Estrogen, for those who missed Biology 101-A, is a female sex hormone. I guess Mackey isn’t all that cool after all.

Notwithstanding her glandular secretions, one of the other reasons she likes the show is that it doesn’t feature women as airy, big-breasted dolts. “Pamela Anderson,” she says self-righteously, “could never be Scully.”

Anderson is one of the hot, young babes on “Baywatch,” which is sort of a half-naked version of “Friends.”

Mackey also appreciates the fact that there is no sexual relationship between Agents Scully and Mulder. Between Scully and the guy who eats human livers, well, that’s something else. Just say there’s a mutual attraction.

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Guy Jackson was one of those at the convention who has had something of a paranormal experience. He worked for NASA once and is now with an aerospace firm. Paranormal experiences come easy to guys like that.

He was at a Sioux Yuwipi, which is an Indian healing ceremony, when it happened. Jackson wasn’t eager to talk about it, but from what I could gather they were in a closed room chanting and humming when colored lights appeared out of nowhere.

They dipped and floated through the room, touching him occasionally, then disappeared. “I could feel them on my body,” he said, nervously fiddling with a tall, green candle that offered “powerful protection from alien abduction.” “I don’t know what they were.”

Conventions like this are marketing devices--selling posters, cups, T-shirts, hats, videos and books. You get your fortune told, listen to speeches, meet actors, say hello to producers (a scary experience in itself), watch blooper outtakes and hum along with the show’s theme song.

For people like Paula Mackey and Guy Jackson, the whole thing is kind of a lark, a new twist to a single’s club. For others, however, it’s a religious experience, Jesus whirling to Earth in a beam of light from a spaceship.

I personally prefer the company of the guy who eats five human livers every 30 years. Given the persistent butchery of crime and war in the real world, one human liver every six years isn’t all that excessive.


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