Facing the Music
I suppose the reign of the Face as a sort of universal currency has a lot to do with its versatility. It is the chosen representation of us on official identification cards, employee badges, passports, and driver’s licences, as well as the foundation of that modern monument to narcissism: Facebook. It is used by columnists either to make it easier for the reader to somehow assess whom he’s dealing with or to give the writer a pathetic glance of love and solidarity to gaze upon every week or two or month. “I love you,” it seems to say, “so please continue exposing our thoughts to the world, which will worship you as long as they can connect with your physical essence. Together, you and I, we shall lift the veil of idiocy and clear the path of our own sweet purpose. Yes, our Face can make it so.”
But within its versatility lies its danger. If I may quote from an ancient Lyric of my own, which I eventually set to music only as a warning to mankind and almost certainly not for cheap amusement:
Â Â Â Â I once had a daughter
Â Â Â The one thing I taught her
Â Â Â Was to be kind
Â Â Â To strangers everywhere.
Â Â Â But the face of a stranger
Â Â Â Is a danger, not a chair.
Â Â Â How could I have overlooked that?
And I was to learn that audiences tend to respond to good, solid advice when it is offered by one who is unashamed of his own stupidity. My daughter may indeed have become a rich international courtesan who still laughs at me behind my back while I in my punery decry her chosen path, but when I state that I will allow her the last laugh, I do not state it with a straight face.
The Face is certainly not invulnerable. Music has a transformative power over it. Music makes the body want to dance and when the body dances somehow the face changes; the eyelids lower or close, and the lips tend to pucker peculiarly (instant Botox OD) and you no longer resemble the face on your driver’s licence. Curiously, most people find the look sexy but I’ve been tossed out of a lot of clubs laughing hysterically and so now tend to stay away from opportunities to observe such contortions up close.
Look deeply into your own eyes on the first piece of identification you’re able to extricate from your purse. Do it while you’re alone; just me and you. Just us, my sweet pumpkin bunny. Pour us a glass of wine, change into something more nothing. Now let’s look. No, you look, I’ll turn my head elsewhere.
Yeah. Yes, indeed.
Now, does that face truly represent who you are or is it a mask covering a mountain of sin? If, when studying your carefully-plucked eyebrows, your rosy lips, darkened lashes, eyes that seem to say Oh, you want me, don’t you, Hose? and I do begin to want you, but truly only in a way that would make my own face the focus of your next action, do you not feel a slight amount of shame? If you do, then I congratulate you. Now get to it; you’re forgiven.
We place far too much emphasis on Face, and Face can be ruthless. Remember back to the faces of those as they said, “I am not a crook,” and “One hundred per cent not guilty,” and become intimate with deception. It is the Face that has most come to identify us, to attract or repulse others, to simply represent who we are in the world while our feet or hands, our knees, elbows, and palms have been chomping at the bit for centuries. By denying, say, an earlobe a nice sweet closeup on an ID card, we’re implicitly stating that we care nothing for any single earlobe’s distinguishing characteristics; that one’s no different from another. Bull dookey. The truly aware individual who has not been restrained by common, accepted “education” can certainly differentiate between a lobe belonging to Britney Spears and one belonging to Selma Hayek and is in consequence unmovable concerning which of them he’ll uselessly devote his life seeking the opportunity to nibble, chew, and drool upon. Once again, the important thing is not the question of success but the purity of intent.
I love those promos for our local news shows, with the talking faces of various anchors and reporters. They tout their love of our city and pretty much try to establish themselves as hard workers, people of integrity. “She seems purty, honest. Mebbe I should be watchin’ her station instead. She ain’t jus’ performin’ like everbody else, she’s so… well, real and naturl…”
What goes over the head of Uncle Gilbert (pronounced Jhil-bair, quoted above) is that the news person’s spoken lines were entirely scripted and rehearsed and her talking face is carefully turned toward some invisible, imagined “interviewer” who is supposedly standing about five feet to the side of the camera lens (in order to give the shot a more “documentary” feeling).
Yes, the Face reigns over even this spurious universe. Throw in an insert or two — a couple of full-on butt shots — and you’ll have a better chance of hooking me. Otherwise, the whole thing is illustrative of “lying through your teeth” syndrome.
Other portions of one’s body, you see, are impervious to lies. They see not, neither do they spin. Uh, scratch that. Just this once, I think, I’ll have my being represented by something other than a head shot, if only to begin the new year with a new, fresher attitude; perhaps a plea to look beyond standard appearances and begin to consider all the myriad facets that compose the person. in addition, the very term “head shot” continues to grow ever more distasteful in these tragic times.
A photo of a bust or a butt could become the new national standard and could do much to usher in a new dawn of understanding, peace, acceptance, and love. A sense of truly sharing, when we begin to notice a hell of a lot more smiles on the faces of authorized officials whose duty it is to verify who we are. This may already be starting to happen. Screeners at airports all over the country seem to have become interested in just about every other part of our bodies except our faces. In appreciation and to enliven the check-in process, I’ve begun adorning random parts of my own body with little lead-painted “Kiss Me” stickers underneath my clothing, the actual locations vary, depending on my mood…
And moods! The Face certainly has a greedy lock on exposing those, doesn’t it? And it is this supreme power that can truly be the most drastic, unnerving, and instructional of all, actually being able to signify impending tragedy! If you happen to know someone whose face can “light up any room,” be hereby warned! That person is tragically close to death! You are soon to lose the earthly companionship of that person, as just about any obituary you read in your morning paper will make quite clear. You’ll notice that the departed ones who are witten of seem always to have had that strange, supernatural ability. Possessing a Face that will illuminate rooms is nothing less than a ticket to an untimely grave. Until some remedy is found, you would do well to start practicing an effective scowl.
But truthfully that, dear reader, would be a tragedy itself. We’ll figure something out. Happy New Year.