Monday, November 10, 2008

Walking on `Stilts,' Feeling Like the Elephant Man: `A Silent, Unresisting Target for Your Ridicule'

I've been thinking of blogging about this for days. I sought advice from Brother Grice about my hesitation; his consolation: "Well, Sister, when in doubt, blog it out." Since when did New Media work its way into flippant axioms?

I couldn't bring myself to air my grievance until half an hour ago. Bossman came over and whispered: "So, how's it working out?" I knew exactly what he meant, I'd confided in him that I was being made to wear lifts in my shoes to help out the hobbled walk.

I blurted out, "I feel like the Elephant Man! That's how it's working out." The truth is, I haven't even gotten the "lifts" yet (actually, it's an insole), but the moment old Doogie Howser (the doctor) told me what I had to do, I wore the saddest frown for a good hour. A whole very long hour, until I began thinking it was kind of funny, talked to Mother and Brother Grice and several others who were happy for a progressive step in the leg-healing process, and of course, I spoke to many hecklers who are near and dear to my heart.

So, I guess walking on a small stilt on one side is better than walking around hobbled-like. And, "The Elephant Man" is a great movie; as one of my dear friends once told me, "You're like a crippled monster!" It's so true.


Paramendra Bhagat said...

"when in doubt, blog it out"

Why do I feel like I have heard this line before? Maybe during a previous visit to this very blog post.

Paramendra Bhagat said...

I saw Elephant Man in the "Assembly Hall" of the British-established school in Kathmandu I was at in the late 80s. At that point I did not know Anthony Hopkins. Only today I noticed he is in the movie.

One leg amputated, and you are still not going to be Elephant Man, a hobble is only a hobble. You are movie star material. You could, on the other hand, argue you are very beautiful, but that does not mean you are not to be taken seriously.

But I don't think this became beauty talk at any point, it feels like self-esteem, and self-confidence talk, like someone's post on your Facebook wall from years ago, "Morgan, you must have great self-confidence to post t-h-a-t for your profile photo!" I don't know what photo, but I can guess what kind, because I have seen a few different profile photos, and one major relationship status.

On the other hand, I think this movie strikes at a deep human prejudice called physicalism. In a physicalist world Susan Boyle makes news for, well, not being stereotypically beautiful. The truth is the vast majority of us look more like her than like Julia Roberts. Physicalism is us, the masses, not accepting ourselves.

There's physicalism based on skin color (in India light skinned women are automatically considered beautiful - the British never left!), there's physicalism based on height, weight, age.

Appu: Kamal Hassan, about whom Amitabh once said, "He is a better actor than me." This movie is about the tragedy of being short. Should not matter, but it does, because we live on a physicalist planet.