I used to think my parents were nuts when they’d say something like “when I was your age” or “back in my day”. I’d groan, roll my eyes and cross my arms over my chest as I listened to them drone on about how hard this was or how different that was. All the while I swore to myself I would never be like them. I would never make my kids feel guilty for something they couldn’t control nor would I ever become so rigid I couldn’t change with the times.
It was a valiant effort on my part. Really. It was.
While I have kept my promise to refrain from saying “when I was your age” or “back in my day” I have been unable to retain my fluidity. Bummer. I try. I do. But, let’s face it, I don’t listen to any of today’s music. I have no freakin’ clue who most of the people Yahoo! News reports on are or why they’re ‘famous’. If a song was cut after 1996 or so…I don’t know about it. I don’t care about it. For the most part, that is, there are a few exceptions but they’re very rare.
The other day hubby and I were watching “South Park” and I came to realize once again just how much Matt and Trey love Master King. They’re always incorporating his stories into their stories and making me laugh. The episode we watched was their parody of “The Dead Zone” and it gave me the itch to watch the movie. It’s a terrible movie, btw! Horrible! Awful! And I LOVE it. It’s about as far from a ‘horror movie’ as one can get, to tell the truth, it isn’t even creepy. But it was my introduction to Christopher Walken who played poor ‘Johnny Smith’ brilliantly. Let us not forget Martin Sheen as the wanna-be-Senator, our beloved, ‘Greg Stillson’ a/k/a the person Paul Ryan and Company really are underneath it all.
On Friday I put it in the DVD player (I do still own it on VHS too! LOL) thinking I had plenty of time before hubby came home. I settled in, the flick came up and….wow.
I was instantly reminded that human beings are flawed creatures or they used to be anyway. People had freckles and moles and zits and wrinkles and even visible scars that had nothing to do with the character they were portraying. They were tall, short, thin, fat, but mostly they were somewhere in between all of those things. But there was one feature in particular that kept drawing my attention no matter how much I tried to fight it. It drew my attention regarding every single person who appeared on my TV during the course of the movie.
I watched and watched and hubby came home early. I offered to turn off the flick knowing he doesn’t care for most of ‘my’ movies. He said no and sat down to watch with me. Within a minute he turned to me and gave voice to the very thing that had been gnawing at me for the last 45 minutes; “Look at those teeth!”
Every single person had imperfect teeth. Some were crooked. Some had a snaggeltooth. Some had a brown tooth. Every single one of them had YELLOW teeth. EVERY ONE…right down the line.
Once he said it, I was able to ignore it, and keep watching the movie. I realized that I was looking the actors in the eye, I was taking in the whole of their faces and performances rather than being captivated by teeth so perfect and glaringly white that I needed sunglasses. A lot of today’s thespians are nothing but teeth if you take a good look at them especially ‘Cam’ and ‘Angela’ on “Bones”. Beautiful women both of them but their faces are 70% teeth.
Ya know, “back in my day”, there was no such thing as whitening or bleaching the teeth. You could have caps or veneers both of which were outrageously expensive and painful, therefore, they were avoided by all but the vainest of people. The same with plastic surgery; it was just becoming a ‘thing’ and it was saved only for the richest and vainest among us. Same with cell phones but “back then” they were car phones, an actual cell phone was attached to something that looked like a car battery and you actually cranked it up to get it to work. Don’t believe me…go on…Google it.
It isn’t that we didn’t want to look our best or stay in style but we had boundaries that were pretty common sense and we still had a desire to look the way a human being is supposed to look. We hadn’t yet lost our minds to the Fitness Craze–which was give its biggest push no by Jack LaLane but was spurred onward by the advent of AIDS, btw, again you can Google it if you don’t believe me. We hadn’t gone completely crazy in search of Eternal Youth or at least the appearance of it anyway
We understood that people grew old, they lost teeth, their eyesight got poorer, they got wrinkles, they got gray hair, they gained or lost weight, all of that added to their character before they eventually died.
I watched the rest of “The Dead Zone” fondly recalling the days when people were as individual as they were supposed to be. They weren’t cardboard cut outs fresh off the assembly line…tread mill, sorry, fresh out of the bleaching chair, the waxing bed, the coloring station, the tanning booth, and the Botox kiosk.
Looking at that movie I wondered how the human race ever managed to procreate! How was it possible that with our yellow teeth and funky clothes, our zits and moles, some people…probably more then than now…were still considered ‘beautiful’ and ‘desirable’ and ‘loveable’. The person who was ‘perfect’ was the rarity, the oddity, the sideshow freak we all loved to stare at and imagine what it would be like to be the ‘statuesque beauty’ for a while or to hold it in our arms. Then we simply got on with the rest of our lives with most of us knowing that we preferred a ‘natural beauty’ or the ‘Earth Angel’.
Then I take my eyes away from the TV and the movie screen and have a look around. I see that, in the every day world, we still look more like those in “The Dead Zone” then say those in “American Hustle” (a movie I’m dying to see, btw!) or “The Wolf of Wall Street”. The vast majority of the really Pretty People live IN the TV or ON the Big Screen. They’re not real–even on the rare occasion that I bump into one of them out here, I can tell right off they’re as plastic as they come; the teeth aren’t real, the hair isn’t real, the boobs aren’t real. It’s just a pretty package. I tend to stay away from pretty packages because chances are not much beneath that shiny veneer is real either.
The saddest part is that we’ve been duped by the illusions we’ve created for ourselves. That’s pretty pathetic. Even sadder is the next generation, the one that thinks that’s all ‘normal’ and the way it’s ‘supposed to be’. They will never know the joy of meeting an imperfect person and finding them to be the most stunning and desirable creature on the face of the Earth not in spite of but because of their flaws.