Monday, April 21, 2014

Loose Tooth

There's a small part in the book "The Bluest Eye" that involves a woman eating an apple while watching a movie.  It's been a long while since I read the book, so I don't remember the details, but the woman was poor, ugly, and dumb and went regularly to the matinee because she enjoyed watching beautiful, rich, and smart people.  As she's in the theater watching some dazzling performance and allowing herself to forget who and what she is for a moment, she bites into the apple and loses one of her front teeth.  I don't remember most of the book but that has stuck with me over the years.  I know a little bit about being knocked abruptly from a very short and gingerly climbed pedestal.  If I think about it long enough, I can squeeze out a tear for that woman in the story, because I can relate to that moment of hers. 

Not that I'm missing any teeth, I was blessed with mineral-dense bones and they've served me faithfully. 

A long while back, I took my cousin's daughter and the girls father to a movie after my cousin passed away.  I let my late cousin's daughter pick the movie, because her mom had just died.  She selected "A Walk To Remember", which is a terrible movie about a girl and a boy who fall in love right before the girl dies of cancer.  I'm watching this movie becoming more and more horrified by the plot, knowing that my 5yr old second cousin beside me just endured the death of her mom.  By the end of the movie, my second cousin's father was sobbing loudly.  My tiny second cousin, a miniature doppelganger of her mother, was sitting quietly and patting her dad on the leg to comfort him.  

The kid didn't make a connection between Mandy Moore's horribly drawn character and her mom, because they were nothing alike.  Her father made the connection because someone he'd loved romantically had died, and maybe he was given to more melodramatic displays, I don't know him well enough to guess.

My point here is that the things that strike us as sad are often clues about our experiences. 

I have a soft spot for staggering prize fighters.  What if Rocky had lost?  That shit is devastating for me to think about.  What if filled with confidence, pumped up and beefed out, Rocky had gone out there and given it his all and lost, he'd be a mediocre footnote within seconds.  What does that mean?  Am I a staggering prize fighter?  Maybe.  I was raised by combative, petty, and resentful people so I spent the first 18 years of my life locked in ongoing battles, and the last 20 trying to take off my pads and gloves.

So now I'm wondering if the association between what makes us sad and our experience occurs because what makes us sad is directly linked to the reality of our experiences, or because it's directly linked to our perception of our experiences.  And of course, because we're narcissistic creatures, and not robots, it's linked to our perception of our experience and not reality.  Knocked off a short pedestal again. 

What's the saddest thing you can think of? 


  1. Sad that this manuscript was so incredibly long. But, then I read it and joy bursts through my heart and my eyes saw rainbows. Present tense. Still bursting. Thank you and may all of your pedestals be firm and comfortable.

  2. thanks, jive turkey, corn in the bible is real, son!