Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Cartwheels

I’m going to tell you about a fact on Wikipedia. This is entry is so important because of what’s going on in the world. You see, the world is constantly being reduced. Architecture is more math and less art. They cut out people who take pride in making clothes, replacing them with kids who will take less pay. Scientists are bolder all the time in saying more of your personality is just your genes. They want to know you, and they want to know there’s as little of you to know as possible. Then they can dismiss you utterly. To whole industries and society you’re the sum of what goes on your tax form and fits on your passport. It takes the life out of life.

On Wikipedia they have a lot of entries for athletes. Boxers. Football players. They can give you the height and weight of Brian Urlacher or Oscar De La Hoya. Last I looked him up, the cage-fighter Frank Shamrock was 5 feet and 10 inches tall, and 185 pounds.

185 pounds. Was somebody there at his scale this morning? I don’t know. But it’s a symptom of how everything is being reduced. We’re being boxed in by dimensions.

You know the government even calculated how much a human life is worth? They factor it into punishments of murderers or something. If Frank Shamrock goes nuts next week and snaps your neck, you could be put on his tab. The tab of a man who weighs 185 pounds, with 23 wins, 9 losses and 2 draws in what Wikipedia calls his “Mixed martial arts record.”

Now I was browsing this site and came across the entry for Takeshi Morishima. This guy is a Japanese professional wrestler. A fake fighter’s got his stats here – his age, his height, his weight. At first there’s the laugh that this would even matter. Then there’s the disappointment at another man being catalogued. But those are obliterated by the actual entry. He’s Japanese, so it’s in metric, but it goes:

Ring name(s): Takeshi Morishima
Billed height: 190 cm (6 ft. 3 in.)
Billed Weight: 145 kg (Morbidly Obese, but can do a cartwheel)

It’s right there under his picture. Not “145 kilograms.”

“145 kg (Morbidly Obese, but can do a cartwheel).”

This man is amazing. He’s in a fake sport, but he is so jarring that somebody whose job it is to write his stats can’t stick to the job. It’s funny, it’s jarring, and it doesn’t belong in this society of numbers. The guy is a certain height and a certain weight, classifying him for morbid obesity, but he can do this thing you’d never think he could do, something atypical of what comes to mind when you think of these statistics. And the guy writing them adds it, and forgets to translate his weight into pounds.

That bucks the reduction. It bucks the death of life in written history, even if it gets edited tomorrow. It’s hilarious. It’s something you’d write about. That is willfully abnormal, and I will do everything in my power to create just one more stupid speed bump for a statistician who will have to say that I once swapped a Ritz for the communion wafer, or that I put steak sauce on my popcorn, or I have personally melted the final remnants of at least two urinal cakes. Anything so that I have so many things that someone trying to reduce me to numbers will have to give in and write just one parenthetical that does not belong in that box. Then I win, even if her editor fires her tomorrow and erases it. Because it means I didn’t live out a math problem. And if someone tries to write that I did, even if I don’t read it, even if I’m dead, I know they’re wrong.

1 comment:

  1. OMG I <3 this!! How do you come up with this stuff?? My 2 favorite quotes are: "They want to know you, and they want to know there's as little of you to know as possible" and "Because it means I didn't live out a math problem." Haha I also loved the swapping of a Ritz for a communion wafer!

    Your adoring fan,


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