Lipstick

lipstick pig

Comedy film. A bumbling dad-type slips on a banana peel, falls onto a skateboard which sends him careening downhill. The skateboard hits a rock, sending him flying in the air, arms pinwheeling. He flies straight into the red mouth of an active volcano, screaming his cartoonish, wacky scream all the while. The volcano emits a plume of smoke and a burp. This is where you’re supposed to laugh.

I hate that cartoonish, wacky screaming.

Same goes for laugh tracks, and dramatic music that tells you how to feel.

Advertising campaigns that use bright colors and catchy jingles to get you in the door.

Salesmen with plastic smiles, slick hair, and flowery well-practiced pitches.

Cheap gimmicks whose sole purpose is to delude you into believing the narrative is worth listening to, laughing at, buying. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

I’m disgusted by it all.

If your movie sucks, don’t try to convince me it’s funny. If you can’t let the facts speak for themselves without wiggling your eyebrows and forcing a pained, constipated smile, then you’re selling snake oil. I’m not in the market to buy things I don’t need.

The more razzle-dazzle there is, the more suspicious I find it.

 

And yet…

I stew in the hot shame of my own hypocrisy. I’ve made shitty jokes to try and lighten the atmosphere. I’ve laughed harder than necessary at stupidity, ringing hollow in my ears. I’ve made desperate attempts at humor to disguise burning insecurity. I’m only human, fumbling along with the same transparent bravado of a 19-year-old strolling into a liquor store, pretending I belong here. All to cover up my “gee-golly-gosh” bashfulness. To disguise the fact that, really, I just want to rip my skin off and dance alone, howling at the moon.

I’ve smiled and listened to the sales pitches, annoyed at the fact that I do indeed need to buy what this clown is selling.

There will always be pigs: stinky, dirty, naked, ugly truths we’ve got to deal with. I want to see the pig as it is, in all its offensive, unruly stinkiness, front and center. No ruses, no cover-ups. But out there, in the world, sometimes you have to make an effort. Some people prefer their pigs to wear lipstick. It gussies up the boorishness, makes it more presentable. Some smear the lipstick on unconsciously and automatically. And sometimes, the pig is easier to deal with that way.

And if I have to follow suit and smear on the rouge to get through the day, then so be it. But for the record: I wish I didn’t have to.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a few kicking, screaming swine here that need tending to.

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