Needle Hits E - Sugar (mp3)
Ordinary Average Guy - Joe Walsh (mp3)
I was going to write about my daughter’s new friend who stayed the night on Saturday, and about how her mother is Japanese, and how she went to church with us on Sunday and never once mentioned to my wife or I that she was Buddhist, and never once looked anything but comfortable and normal in the middle of an hour-long church service.
I was going to write about my love of Ninja Warrior marathons when I’m hung over from Brewfest, about how the Japanese culture glorifies strength not as some beefcakey statement, but as one part of many valued physical qualities including endurance and balance. I was going to say I love that game show because it’s a very Eastern notion of competition where all competitors are against the obstacle course rather than one another. Only in Japan could a game show end several seasons without a winner, with the winner being the obstacle course itself, because no one could manage to conquer it.
But I’m not going to write about any of that.
Instead, I’m going to write about Studface.
Her face made her look like some first-run experiment by Skynet before they figured out how to perfect the human flesh and metallic interior. Her name could have been Bride of Pinhead.
In addition to one big honkin’ nose stud and some kind of bull ring in her septum, she had no fewer than -- and I’m not exaggerating -- 20 silver studs poking out of all corners of her face. She had so much metal on her facade that, had she been walking down the street on a sunny day, the reflection from her could have caused innumerable wrecks.
Everything we do, as human beings, is about communication. I believe this to my core. You don’t have to speak Sanskrit to know precisely what this woman was communicating to her human environment: F*** Conformity and F*** Normality.
I might not be the president of the conformity club, but I’m a member, and I pay my dues. I have the 2.4 children, the salaried job at an esteemed educational institution, the loyal devoted wife, the dogs, the long driveway, and the 2.9 Bibles on bookshelves throughout my house. Any attempts I make, with blogs and the like, to seem less than conformist are feeble and middling at best.
I don’t generally stare at people. It’s rude. No matter if it’s a gorgeous woman or a circus freak, I try my best not to be so blatant with my observations, especially when sober. So I sheepishly shrugged my shoulders and held up the “oops! no offense!” hands of defense while quickly heading inside.
As I got inside and sat down, the insta-guilt faded and I got annoyed.
What, exactly, about my reaction surprised this freakish museum piece? Her face, a face that could be robbed and sold at high cost for parts, was for all intents and purposes flipping me off. Her face was built to offend, to disturb, to bother. My indifference would surely be far more insulting than my disgust.
And that’s the disconnect I mull. I gave her precisely the reaction she should have wanted, the kind of response that should have made her smile, her having successfully penetrated the delicate sensibilities of a lemming. But instead she was offended.
I can't figure it. But I bet a Japanese person would have handled it better.