Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I just got home from Walmart which is the modern day version of the Ringling Brothers freak show, and I can't get the freaks out of my head.  I hate Walmart, but I go there because they have cases of Diet Coke for $5.  I know, I know, some 5 year old in a third world country had to stomp the Diet Coke grapes with his stumps for half a cent a day so I could get it this cheap, but I don't care.  I drink a lot of Diet Coke.  I shouldn't say I don't care.  I do.  I just care more about feeding myself cheap Diet Coke.

So anyway, back to Walmart.  To say it is full of freaks is obvious, we've all seen the pictures of the people of Walmart.  My question is, why do they all go to Walmart?  And why can't I ever go there when there aren't at least a couple of people who give me the total heebie jeebies?  Are they on the payroll?  It doesn't make me feel good to be creeped out by my fellow man. But when I see a four foot tall person who I can't tell is male or female, and that little person is made up of legs and a head and seemingly no torso, and he/she is walking along with giant, freakishly long strides, I get a little creeped out in spite of all my liberal, free-to-be-you-and-me beliefs.  I'm sure that person is perfectly nice and it's not his/her fault he/she was born without a torso and no gender-distinguishing characteristics, in fact I bet he/she wishes he/she had a torso and looks at my slightly freakishly long torso longingly and wishes he/she and I could trade a little more leg for a little more torso so we'd both be more normal (I couldn't give him/her enough torso to make him/her normal though.  Sorry.  I'm not giving up that much torso.)

Those of us born in the seventies grew up at a time when freakiness was at its height, thank you very much Sid and Marty Krofft.
Sweet Jesus...

But instead of normalizing freakiness, I think it made some of us more sensitive to it.  My brother in law is a professional, charming, confident man, but if he would have seen the episode of 20/20 that I saw last week, he'd still be crying in the fetal position in his bed.  The episode was about albinos in Africa and how some witch doctors have decided that albino limbs are valuable for potions and such.  They used to rob the graves of albinos, but now the demand has gone up so much that albinos are hunted down and their limbs are hacked off.  Horrifying huh?  Yeah, it's very sad.  They did a story on this albino woman whose arms were chopped off by these hunters so she was totally dependent on her family to take care of her because guess what guys, arms are important!  I'm using mine right this very second.  In fact, I've been using them all day.

Anyway, some western agency heard about her so they decided to set her up with some prostheses.  She was thrilled, of course.  They moved her to the States and she lived with a family while they were doing all the fittings.  There was a lot of footage of this poor legally blind (like a lot of albinos are), tiny, albino, black woman, with her crossed eyes and her white afro and her no arms singing songs in Swahili. She was very sweet and affectionate as well because there was also a lot of footage of her hugging people with her stumps.  I was wrapped up in the story because hey, I have a heart, but watching her rocking and singing, and giving no-armed hugs creeped me out which made me hate myself a little bit.  And then I thought, come on producer, any idiot can see that that is creepy, why so much footage of it?  Is that all she does?  I doubt it.  Those 20/20 producers were trying to make me feel bad and guilty.  NICE!  Mission accomplished, 20/20!

She eventually got her arms and got them fitted correctly so they wouldn't pinch or hurt or anything and she was so happy that she was jumping and screaming and dancing, hook-hands akimbo; and I actually had to change the channel for a few minutes because her unbridled joy and hook-waving was too much for me to handle.  I was simultaneously happy for her and her new found independence, and almost in a panic because of her paleness, and crossed eyes and hooks.  What's wrong with me?  And then I thought of my BIL and about how I was handling it SO much better than he would and I felt a little better about myself, because hey, at least I'm a bigger person than he is.  There is something about all of us that would totally creep somebody out so I think we should all just suck it up and like each other, warts and all (unless they have warts. Ew! Yuck! Warts! Gross!)


  1. You are so damn funny! I had to experience Wal-Mart today. There are not enough Ativan...

  2. I think I have finally figured out why my in laws love to shop at Walmart. They must feel pretty normal compared to the other freaks. (psst! they're not)


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