22 February, 2012

A Place For A Crippled Freakshow

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com.
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A Place For A Crippled Freakshow

Everyone at the bookstore is kind of a dick today. (Not the staff, of course; they’re always great.) I guess that’s what I get for leaving my house at eleven o’clock. Which I never do. Because mornings suck. Real badly. But I have a lot of projects I’m working on right now, and I needed the time to write. Like the blog (this is number 340), I’m writing a fairy tale, and a bass playing memoir about my experiences of being in bands. I’m also trying to find an agent to publish the three other novels I have finished, and trying to figure out how to market and sell the book I have available on the Nook and Kindle. Working at night blows because it makes working in the morning blow more. If you have a Nook, though, buy my short story book (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/people-i-know-a-robert-basile/1108161234), and if you have a Kindle, get you can get it too (http://www.amazon.com/people-i-know-ebook/dp/B006VECZTI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1329930840&sr=8-2).
A Facebook friend of mine had a birthday recently. I have never met this woman, but I believe that we can call each other friends. She’s one of the Rogers sisters who are blog fans of mine. I appreciate their readership. She is beautiful and interesting and unique. What came to my mind this week when I dropped the Facebook happy birthday was that many of my readers have become my internet friends. And even though I hate people and those stupid photos with the captions added to them and music videos by bands that are just absolutely lousy and photos of pregnant bellies and bemoaning posts about being single and misinformed political posts about single issue politics, I do maintain somewhat of a relationship with those collected in my Facebook and Twitter lists of friends. I am not terribly old (my birthday is next month, so send gifts), but sometimes things like Facebook and the relationships I’ve forged through it point to my age.
Before I was modified, I never thought that I would be a part of a community in which all of its members shared a common battle cry and interest. Before I was modified, I had dial up internet, no cell phone, no cable TV, and only the friends that I could hug and handshake in person. Then I was modified and everything changed. That’s not to say that the internet and Facebook were waiting for my labret to happen, but in my narcissism, I’d like to believe that is true. I was a new bass player then, and I got a labret because I liked the way it looked. Now I have hundreds of Facebook friends and thousands of reads a month on my blog. How the hell did that happen to an individual who would be much more content living in the woods eating ramen and drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, writing on a typewriter without a cell phone or internet and looking at trees for a couple hours a day. That’s me, by the way. And yes, Nanci, I’d take you with me. You’re pretty.
But that’s not the case, and I equal parts hate and love it. I hate it because I hate people as a rule (oh of course not you, reader who thinks I’m only talking about him). But I love it because we have a community. A support group of related interests made into a likeminded think tank sort of thing where we can vent frustrations that we all understand, express joys that may not read to those outside the community, or just share ideas that to others may seem a bit loony. Example. I recently got earweights to help stretch, and beforehand I asked of my modified friends (on the internet) their opinions. The response was supportive and informative. I made the same mention to my unmodified friends, and I had to explain what an earweight is.
What am I talking about, exactly. I’m not sure, and that makes me a shitty writer, I suppose. If anyone has a thesis lying around, forward it to me; I could use it. But thanks to my cousin Dave and his website (www.mysticmetalsbodyjewelry.com), I have been given the license to make these friends. And I’m glad for it. I owe him for giving me a place to be welcomed and familiar. You cats and kittens who read me frequently know that I have a disability from birth, so ‘fitting in,’ though I’m not a huge proponent of the importance of ‘fitting in,’ has been a challenge. Through modification I have found that hole for my peg. All unintentional sexual innuendo aside, that has been a mind saving godsend for me, and I believe that my speculating that finding a community for you has had the same effect.
Now, I’m not saying that any likeminded group of individuals ought to isolate into halls and rooms populated only with similar individuals. It is very important, if not vital, to the understanding of society as a whole to experiment in other groups; to see what others unlike you are doing, why they do it, what motivates them to do it, and what they get out of doing it. After all, we in the modified community expect that polite questioning respect from the unmodified, so oughtn’t we have a point of view similar to what we expect of those outside the community? It’s only fair and just, and it applies to any number of ideologies to which we subscribe. As a liberal, talk to a conservative. As a white, talk to a black. As a gay, talk to a straight. Educated and first hand opinions are more valuable than ignorant ones, aren’t they.
Often, though, with modification it is difficult to explain to others our own motivation in participating. What makes our culture and society unique is that we choose to be a part of it. I didn’t choose to be part of the Italian-American community, but I did choose to be a part of the mod community. That option, that ability to choose to subscribe is often a hurdle for those unfamiliar with mod. And since it is a choice, we probably oughtn’t approach their ignorance (in the literal sense of the word) with offense or malice. Of course there are those who intentionally say things to hurt us, like any group. There are those wordless stares too. Those get old very quickly, yet there’s a new one everyday. But in fairness to our community as a representative of the beauty that we exude through modification, a smile and polite hello speaks volumes to our attitude and maturity.
Some days that is more difficult than others, isn’t it, kids? That’s why we have our safety net, our community to which we may retreat for a time and realize that there are others who are stareless, judgeless, and open to the unique beauty we personify. I’m glad for our Mystic Metals community, the Mystic Mob I call it, in that I can go onto our Facebook page or onto my Twitter and I can say, “Hey, Jennete is on, and though I’ve never met her, I’m going to talk to her because we already have something in common. Our ice has already been broken.” It feels good. And some day, when I’m a famous writer (hold on a sec while I stop laughing at that), I’ll travel the country and hang out with all of the Mystic Mobsters. Don’t hold your breath on that; I’m broke as shit.
It’s strange. Because over ten years ago I decided to get a labret in my lip, I now play Xbox with a girl named Becks, I look at modeling photos from a girl named Emmy, I hear about Afghanistan from a soldier named Matt, I learn French from a girl named Marjorie, I send and receive birthday wishes from countless freaks across the country. From some stupid labret. And the residual effect of all of that is that I feel welcomed and loved and comfortable in a place that doesn’t care about how big my lobes are, doesn’t care about my septum ring, doesn’t care about my tattooed hand, and especially doesn’t care about my handicap. You cats and kittens have given a crippled freak a place to go when the legs get bad, the lobes get bigger, and the understanding seems slight. Thanks, kids. You do much more for me than I do for you. Let’s all virtual group hug. Aww. That was nice. I should say something metal so that people don’t think I’m a sissy. I’ll just throw on a SLAYER (always spelled in caps, of course) record and sway back and forth at the bookstore like a loon. There we go. I’m tough again. Grr. Stay beautiful, kids. 

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1 comment:

  1. Grrr whatever, can't fool me. Crazy how the virtual world is made up of so much that is real. I'm glad or paths have crossed and I look forward to a day when you can show your biggest fan around town.