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Body Over Mind

October 21, 2003 - 9:29 p.m.

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Last Five Entries:
The Party's Over
July 11, 2004
The Next Day
My Nervous Breakdown
True Confessions: My Life as a Female Impersonator
March 15, 2004
Bite Me
February 29, 2004



I'm tired of hearing about how damn smart I am. I know, it's meant to be a compliment. But I just don't care anymore. Ten, fifteen years ago, it was exciting to be smart. Now it feels like a cheap consolation prize. You see, being smart never really got me anywhere. I'm the kind of guy people want to invite over for a study group, but not to invite over to just hang out and socialize.

What I would really like- and maybe one day technology will advance to that point at which this would be possible- is a machine that could allow me to trade intelligence for physical attractiveness. Even just to be a little better-looking, I would part with logic, perception, education, and vocabulary. To get to Brad Pitt looks, I would give up creativity, experience, or any other mental faculty that would be required.

Brad Pitt
This is the celebrity whom I'd most like to resemble.
The Noid
This is the celebrity whom my high school classmates told me that I most resembed.

I receive compliments on my intelligence constantly. I can remember distinctly every single compliment I've ever had on my physical appearance in my 33-year life. There have been three total. My first (and, as it turns out, only) girlfriend said she liked my green eyes. That was sixteen years ago. Two other women I knew in college did say they liked my long, thick hair (which I had to get cut short eight years ago so I could look like a lawyer).

It's not politically correct to tell someone that he's too ugly to ever have a happy life. The United States is the great meritocracy, where people become successful in live based on brains, hard work, education, blah blah blah. Fortunately, there have been rare moments of honesty.

There was a time in my young life that I had wanted to be an actor. And really, doesn't everyone? I had a Spanish teacher in high school, who used to assign us things like writing and performing skits in Spanish in the class. One day after class, he pulled me aside and said, "You know, I'm involved in community theater, and I think that's something that you could probably do well. We're auditioning a play that has a part for a teenager, why don't you come down and read for the part." Pretty cool, huh? So I did. And by the way, I am a good performer, I know that, and I only had to read for the part against one other boy. He was a good-looking boy, able to read the lines smoothly, but he read it like a monotonous speech rather than as a character having interactive dialog with someone else. Cold readings aren't my strength, but I was able to quickly figure out a way to deliver the part and I did it pretty darn well for a cold reading. It seemed obvious to me that I was much better, but I didn't get the part. So when I didn't get it, I wondered if I just hadn't judged my performance well. But a few days after the audition, I talked to my Spanish teacher, and here is what he told me. And he told me with what really seemed like a painful expression, and he chose his words carefully. "Well, you know, sometimes they choose someone who has- the right look." And he stumbled over the word "right" like it was far from the correct word to express his thought. I'm glad he told me.

In college, for a while I hung out with the theater department crowd (I had long since abandoned any hope of being an actor, but at the time I was on a playwriting stint, and so I volunteered for "crew" work and such). Well, I sort of hung out- I spent time with them on the the set and on campus, but never got invited to the off-campus socializing or anything. But that wasn't too bad, because in a college production, there is plenty of goofing off and socialization on the set. Anyway, my friends in the theater department- at one of those times that didn't involve me- did their version of the "Most Likely To" votes that happen in high school yearbooks. They voted me, "Most Likely to Rape." When one of my friends told me of that- and she thought it was still funny as she told me- she explained that the decision was based simply on the fact that I look like a guy who would go out on a serial raping spree. And she added that it was a quite unanimous vote. And this was against the backdrop of quite a few things I did for her at recent crisis moments in her life, but that isn't really relevant. I guess another time I will write about that lesson to point out that, no matter what you do for an alleged friend, that alleged friend can still hate you because you're ugly.

I have more stories, involving what people about whom I care more have said, but I'm not going to write about them. I'll leave those rolling around in my head. I've made my point here.

What I hear when people tell me I'm smart is the old joke about being set up on a blind date, when saying that someone "has a nice personality" is code for saying that the person "is really ugly." That's how my brain processes it. Being smart is a minimal excuse for my existence.

If I had to choose between being loved and being respected for my mind, I'd take loved, no hesitation.

Zack and Kelly
This man is loved.
This man is respected for his mind.

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