Making Fun of Strangers

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(Note: This is one of those columns where I make fun of how some people look in public and talk like I think I’m better than everyone. If you don’t like those columns, you shouldn’t read this one.)

There. Now that I have guaranteed everyone who doesn’t like this sort of column is still reading — it’s like a trainwreck, isn’t it? — let’s proceed.

Our friend Luscious Malone (names have been changed) moved to Oregon for a while, but then she found work in Logan and has moved back to Utah. I say “found work” like she’s an itinerant farm hand or something. Really she’s involved in live theater, which means she only works like a farm hand, while getting the salary of a hobo.

Anyway, the result is that mutual friend Tanny Tantan and I have been meeting Luscious in Salt Lake City quite a bit, as that is more or less the half-way point between Provo and Logan. And we see a lot of folks in the big city that we don’t always see out here in the sticks. We will discuss two of them.

1) Riding on a motorcycle was a large, white-bearded man, and clinging tightly to him was an over-sized middle-aged woman. She was wearing a haltertop, and her back fat spilled over the top of it. Her back fat also fluttered and flapped in the wind; imagine Jabba the Hutt out parasailing and you will have approximately the right image, which will now never leave your mind.

We noticed, since we could not look away, that the woman’s ample back fat was tan, indicating she had been exposing this part of herself to the sun for quite some time. We did not envy the people who had to see it while it was still on its way to the healthy, bronze color it was now. Pasty, fluttering back fat is even worse than beige, fluttering back fat.

2) At a restaurant in Salt Lake, we observed a man with a greasy haircut and several earrings in one ear who was wearing a pair of shorts. On one of his legs, peeking out from under the shorts, was a full-color tattoo of Spider-Man. Spidey was in the same pose he’s on in the movie posters, which means the tattoo was inspired by the film and not by, say, a life-long love of spiders.

We thought: Does this man tattoo himself according to all new summer blockbusters? Does he check the reviews first, or wait for them to make $100 million, or does he just forge ahead based on the hype? Is he ashamed of a “Howard the Duck” tattoo somewhere on his body? Does he only have one “Jurassic Park” tattoo, or did he get the sequels, too?

How much do you have to love a movie to permanently imprint it on yourself? For me, buying the DVD is pretty much where I max out in terms of devotion. (A friend once told me he could never get a tattoo because the only thing he’s loved consistently throughout his entire life is Oreos.)

As ridiculous as Lady Back Fat and The Illustrated Man looked, you have to admire their lack of regard for what other people think. No one could observe either of them and not find amusement, but they didn’t seem to care. I respect that. Also, I’m scared by it, because when you take the “I don’t care what people think” attitude too far, you get freaks like MTV’s Tom Green and Utah’s Tom Green.

Like so many things in life, this all reminds me of the mullet, an exceedingly unfortunate hairstyle that has, along with being unattractive, the added stigma of evoking images of trailer parks and country music. People wear their hair in this fashion because they are completely oblivious to the rest of society making fun of them. Whenever I am troubled by the world around me, I start to envy the people who aren’t even aware there IS a world around them.

I don't think I'm better than everyone; I only think I'm better than some people. I certainly know enough not to ride around town showing my back fat to everyone, and I know better than to tattoo movie superheroes on my body.

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