As the newest hire to the Ghostbusting team, I have to ask myself, will I be an ethical Ghostbuster? Sure, if I see a ghost stuffing his mouth full of fancy hot dogs right in front of me at a ritzy hotel à la Slimer, then yes, absolutely—I’ll shoot a ghost right in his face with my proton pack. But what about the other ghosts whose crimes aren’t as clear?
Actually, I just realized I’m mashing two different scenes from the movie Ghostbusters together, one in which Slimer is trashing the Sedgewick Hotel, and another in which he is emerging from a subway with a mouthful of hot dogs. But if you do a quick Google search of “Ritz-Carlton” and “hot dogs,” you’ll find that some luxury hotels do serve hot dogs, so I stand by my hypothetical “a ghost is eating all the hot dogs at a five star hotel, therefore he deserves to get shot in the face with a proton stream” scenario.
Do you think upscale hotels get the best possible hot dogs, or do they just accept the fact that hot dogs are hot dogs, and the fact that you’re eating them under a chandelier should be enough to reassure you that you are, in fact, quite wealthy and better than people who eat hot dogs in their back yards, where there are no chandeliers?
I have to wonder, if I managed a cheap hotel, like a Holiday Inn Express, would I be so quick to call the Ghostbusters to protect my hot dogs, or the link sausages in the continental breakfast? I don’t mean to cut into our profits, but there should be a cheaper version of the Ghostbusters for the average consumer who is not only haunted by phantoms from the spirit realm, but also by crippling debt. The world needs a Sam’s Cola of Ghostbusting, or at least a home do-it-yourself kit.
Sure, the Dr. Peppers of the Ghostbusting world are out there crossing streams to protect New York City from enormous marshmallow men. But what if you’re just a Mr. Pibb working the front desk at the Crossing Streams Inn, and you need to protect the marshmallow bowl by soft serve ice cream machine in the front lobby from an ectoplasmic intruder?
Buddhists have a concept of the “hungry ghost”— a spirit futilely attempting to fulfill its illusory physical desires. Hungry Ghosts are depicted with “mouths the size of a needle’s eye and stomachs the size of a mountain.” Some cultures leave food for them during sacred rites, as a show of compassion. Maybe instead of paying exorbitant Ghostbuster rates to trap these foodie ghosts in containment units, Holiday Inn Express managers should leave some snacks out for them, compassion being the most inexpensive option of all for the cash-strapped hauntee. Those ghosts’ll never get the Doritos through their needle mouths anyway, so all you have to buy is one bag.
Is there room for compassion for ghosts in a company whose logo features a phantom covered in a big red slash, as if to say, “No. Nuh uh. NO GHOSTS. Get your sheet-wearing Casper ass the fuck out of here. Hit the bricks, bitch! Do I look like Kimberly Russell, the actress who played Bill Cosby’s daughter in Ghost Dad, to you? Does I look like I’m interested in helping a transparent, ethereal Bill Cosby learn to prioritize family over career? Weird that this logo is somehow giving a pretty decent synopsis of the movie Ghost Dad.”
Anyway, the fact that I feel empathy for ghosts at all makes me wonder—as a Ghostbuster, will I have what it takes to pull the trigger every time?
I mean, what if a ghost makes me an offer? Like, a ghost that can see the future, and knows how Breaking Bad ends. I accept your offer, ghost who pirated Breaking Bad from the future via supernatural means. I will not trap you in a box in a firehouse basement for the rest of eternity, or until the Environmental Protection Agency pulls a switch and releases you back into the wild, where you will no doubt want to watch the Saul Goodman spinoff which is apparently in the works, because even though you are dead, you are a Breaking Bad superfan.
Also, it’s possible that some ghosts can grant wishes. What if a ghost offers me three wishes, or threatens to grant a wish I made casually in the past as part of a joke or figure of speech, or while singing the “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener” song? Getting your wish granted on a technicality is the worst kind of wish, just ask Jennifer Connelly’s character in Labyrinth (“I wish the goblin king would take this baby away”), or Jennifer Connelly’s character in Requiem for a Dream (“I wish I had more heroin”). Incidentally, chasing David Bowie through a hedge maze is also a great way to get more heroin.
Everybody thinks wishes are granted instantaneously, but what if they’re granted when the governing body of wish-granting ghosts gets around to approving them, and the reason nobody’s wishes get granted anymore is because us Ghostbusters are locking them away in ghost jail? We don’t even have a system in place to sort the genies from the ghosts! Next thing you know, we’ll be shooting Robin Williams with our proton packs and locking him away in a box forever.
Now there will never be a Patch Adams 2! On second though, we might be doing the community a great service.
Even ghosts that can’t grant wishes can probably still turn us into hot dogs. Maybe that was Slimer’s power the whole time, and his mouthful of hot dogs was actually people he’d transformed in the subway.
If I ever get turned into a hot dog by a ghost, all I ask is that you eat me under a chandelier, and not in your back yard like some common hillbilly. I once had thoughts and feelings just like you, even though I am now a plump, juicy frank. I deserve to be eaten in a luxurious setting!
I guess the point I’m trying to make is, I can’t be trusted with an unlicensed nuclear accelerator strapped to my back. I’m too soft on ghosts. I’m too much of a slave to my own illusory physical desires. The fact of the matter is, I can’t be relied upon to protect your hot dogs, or to protect you from being transformed into a hot dog. Honestly, considering the backlog of unanswered wishes in my life, I’m lucky I’m not in a bun right now being covered in ketchup at the Ritz-Carlton.
I should see if the Holiday Inn Express has any positions open for the front desk. Maybe the only ghostbusting I should do is busting ghosts’ insatiable hunger for tortilla chips, and soft serve ice cream.
Besides, what’s two more days to find out how Breaking Bad ends?