Thursday, August 07, 2003

Our bodies, our s-s-s-selves

Recent developments in Illinois suggest that the overreaching arm of the government is probably not tattooed. I had first-hand experience with Illinois squeamishness around body art, when I went to school in a town that would not allow tattoo parlors. (Or pool halls, or food establishments open 24 hours, or live music venues. Boy, was it a hoot...) I used to follow my friends into Chicago to watch them get their nose rings and what-not. But now things are looking tough all over, what with the new restrictions on tongue splitting.

Now, this is a despicable procedure. I have never seen anyone with their tongue split, but my boyfriend has and he has described it to me in such detail that I am content to remain ignorant. I have a bad history with reptilian alterations. Many years ago, I was in a Subway eating a Spicy Italian for lunch. There was a young man huddled in the corner, buried under nondescript coats despite the summer heat, head bowed so low over the table that I could only see the tangles of shock-black hair crawling out from underneath the baseball hat pulled over his eyes. He didn't have any food, he was staring at the blank table top. He appeared so menacing that I couldn't help staring at him. And then, slowly, he lifted his head and fixed his stare at me, and I saw that his eyes were not human. They were thin slits, like a cat, or a reptile, and they were staring at me without blinking.

I was terrified.

Very quickly afterwards (while I was running away from the Subway crying, no doubt!), I realized that he obviously must have been wearing some of those novelty contacts and probably got his kicks by being freaky in Subways and making young girls pee their pants. This is the type of person that gets their tongue split. If he had stared at me and opened his mouth to reveal a squirming forked tongue, I probably would have lapsed into a coma.

On the other hand, I'm older and wiser now. I don't think the government ought to be legislating against gross. I think that if you want to be able to juggle cocktail onions with your tongue, have at it. You want to freak out the bourgeoisie, and I'll happily oblige and be appropriately appalled or whatever. Just don't complain to me when you pass 30 and the Goth club kids don't hang around you any more and society just doesn't understand and ice cream tastes exactly the same as bratwurst because you massacred your taste buds and you can't find your other slit-eyed novelty contact. Because I don't think that's really creepy anymore, it's just melodramatic. Sublety, people! It's like my music theory professor once said after listening to Radiohead's Climbing up the Walls: "They are creepy in a way Marilyn Manson can't even begin to approach."


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