This may be before your time, but I don’t care.
You may or may not have also seen the classic 80’s flick MASK starring Eric Stoltz as Rocky Dennis, a kid born with a really horrible facial deformation whose mother (played by Cher) is a biker-chick who is doing her best to raise a kid who is obviously a social outcast due to his horrific looking face. The story itself is inspirational and heart-warming (Rocky eventually falls for a blind girl at a summer camp played by Laura Dern, who falls for who he is and not what he looks like), and has a moral that goes a little something like, “It’s who you are on the inside that matters, and not how you look.”
But had I actually been that kid in MASK things would have played out a little bit differently.
Most importantly, the last thing I would accept as a kid with a really badly deformed face is getting sent off to be a camp counselor at a summer camp for the blind. Not that I’d have anything against blind people, but I would sort of feel even worse about myself. I mean, I know I’ve got a face that looks like a deformed lion that got beat up a bunch of times — the last thing I need to do is go somewhere like a blind camp. It’s a crutch. Plain and simple. No sir, no way.
Instead, I would probably get involved in a fight club of some kind.
Think about it — a kid with a face like mine, hanging out with a bunch of other idiots who do nothing but get their own faces pummeled on a nightly basis, well you can expect that my face wouldn’t be the only one that looked deformed. So right there from the beginning, from the moment I walked into that dank basement (or wherever the fights took place) people wouldn’t look at me and shriek in horror at the deformation, they would instead say stuff like:
“Duuuuude. Someone kicked your ass.”
“Wow, you’re still walking?”
“Hey, stay away from this guy — he’s got the juice!”
And now instead of having to worry about telling the pretty blind girl that my face is really all messed up from a birth defect, instead I would be partying it up with a group of other idiots who all got their faces bashed in on a nighty basis and no one would care what anyone looked like and it would be the kind of bonding experience a kid like me would need.
And really, if you think about it — a culture like that sort of fits in really well with my mom (who is a biker chick and hangs out with bikers) and her posse of bikers and so it really wouldn’t be too much of a stretch story-wise. I mean, mom’s a biker chick, she hangs out with bikers, they usually get in fights, and now look at me all involved and popular in the local fight club.
Makes so much more sense then sending me to a blind camp to be a counselor.
Sure, you can send me to a blind camp. Sure, you can send me to work as an usher in a movie theater (where it’s dark most of the time). Sure, you can go ahead and make me a candy striper in the corneal replacement wing of the local hospital (where people have bandages over their eyes fro 6-19 days)…
But don’t you think all that does is provide me with additional excuses for not coming to terms with my face?
Yeah, yeah — MASK is a family film. You don’t want to mess up the whole inspirational vibe by setting the middle part of the movie in the violent underworld of fight clubs, I get it. No, I totally do. So, if that’s really the issue here, then I have another suggestion that would perhaps solve my issue and your issue all at the same time and still keep everything intact.
Send me, instead, to one of those Victorian mask parties like in Eyes Wide Shut with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Did you see that? It’s like a huge party with people wearing nothing but those theatrically-painted face masks. I don’t have to participate by any means with the actual strange activities going on — instead, I could just be like the door kid or serve drinks and stuff and no one would ever question my face whatsoever.
That’s an option too.
So, in both the above options (whichever one works best for you) I think as the kid in MASK I would be far more comfortable in my own skin, make lots of new friends in these new scenarios I’ve just provided, and grow as a person much faster than if I got send to the blind summer camp.
Just a few thoughs for this Monday morning.