Click the image for a larger version of my whimsical, violent parody cover of Shel Silverstein’s perfect, beautiful book about selflessness, The Giving Tree.
If you want to see this selfish jerk get the most of what this resentful tree has to offer, please Stumble, Digg, Reddit, Facebook, Myspace and ReTweet this post. Once I get 12 trillion hits, I’ll have leverage to get an agent, do the whole book, sell it to a company that’s not afraid of parodies, and live the rest of my days making ball-busting short animated flicks like Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
[c] 2009 Russ of America
Now I know you’re all amped up and excited to buy the original book. Give in! It’s the best book ever!
The humidity today was 12% and I left my lip balm at home while out on a very important handsome mission. Okay, it’s more of a gloss than a balm, but still I left it at home and I was suffering all day because my gorgeous lips started to flake up and some of those horrible scratchy pieces of dried lip started to stick up and they began cutting at my upper lip. I kept licking at my lips to keep them moist because you know my life motto, “Keep It Moist” but it didn’t really help because when you lick your lips and they’re starting to chap, it only makes the chapping worse unless you Read more
Those of you who know me are aware that I have always taken tremendous, embarrassed pride at my perfect teeth. My teeth are straight, they are white, they shine with moisture and can win over any subversive with a short flash of my dreamy pearls.
But those who REALLY know me, (and if you didn’t know this, this doesn’t mean that you are not my friend, or that you are not a loyal fan — it only means that you didn’t know something about me because you’re not as close to me as you might want to be,) know that I’ve only been to the dentist 4 times in my entire life.
When I was a young boy I would beg my father to take me to the dentist. I’d clip out ads from the PennySaver or those coupon Val-U-Paks that come in the mail. Clippings with large bold print which advertised “FULL DENTAL CHECKUP + X-RAYS + CLEANING = $5”. I’d tape the scraps of paper to his bathroom door, sneak into his car and leave them on his dashboard and hide them in his wallet when he wasn’t looking.
My pops had gotten the hint after a few years of this that I really wanted to go to the dentist. I’d started to wonder if it was just a casualty of Reaganomics, his aversion to paying out the $5, but the truth was that he was so well aware of the litany of handsome perfection he’d created when he’d had me. One morning after I’d asked him for a trip to the dentist, he brought me in front of the mirror and said, “Smile, son.” I obeyed and smiled. “What good would ever come from spending money on these teeth? We might as well save the $5 toward that kitten you wanted.” I did want a kitten, after all, so it made sense. And he was definitely right about the quality of my teeth. Every time we’d visit the supermarket, the checkout ladies would all coo over my gorgeous eyelashes and fawn over my teeth. “Oh, you have such a wonderful smile. Did you know that you have a beautiful smile? Oh what straight teeth — Did you ever wear braces? I’ve never seen teeth that bright!” It was truly embarrassing and this type of oozing over my handsomeness never went away entirely. How could it?
On my 14th birthday my father cheerfully decided that it was time to humor me. He unstuck one of my dental coupons from his bathroom door and he slapped a fiver on the receptionist desk at the dental office. I got a good cleaning and a fluoride rinse. That was nice. I was intrigued by their frightening tooth-mangler apparatus. They poked and prodded and scraped and tapped. They were baffled that I had no signs of cavities or any history of dental procedures. It was a very pleasant experience for me aside from some discomfort at having their weird, pokey, water-leaking tools jabbing into the more sensitive parts of my mouth.
“Visit the dentist every 6 months” is the official recommendation by every dental professional, national health official, elementary school teacher and man-on-the-street, but the next time I would visit the dentist was 11 years later. That was embarrassing. When you go to a new dentist they always ask you, “How long has it been since you’ve seen a dentist.” When you answer “11 years” they act a little incredulous.
“Yeah, but it’s not as bad as you think, I’ve never had any dental problems. Not even a cavity!”
“Well, we’ll see about that. It HAS been 11 years, hasn’t it?”
“Well yeah, but I don’t have any pain or anything.”
“Cavities don’t always cause pain. Anyway, we have an opening next week…”
I rolled into the office and they put me through the usual battery of disbelieving questions. “So you’ve never had a cavity?”
“Not even one?”
“Not even in your baby teeth?”
“No. I didn’t go to a dentist for the first time until I was 14.”
“So then how do you know you never had a cavity?”
“Well, I never saw anything wrong with my teeth. Never had any pain or anything.”
“Didn’t we already tell you that cavities don’t always cause pain?”
As you would anticipate, the dentist didn’t find any cavities then either.
I went to another dentist about 5 years after that, and again I received the usual incredulity. “It’s been 5 years? You need to go to the dentist every 6 months.”
I argued, “Why do I have to go every 6 months if I never have any problems with my teeth?”
“Because going to the dentist is how you prevent problems from happening to your teeth.”
“But I don’t have any problems with my teeth.”
“How do you know if you never go to the dentist?”
And so I visited a dentist about a week ago, and all of the dental technicians praised my enamel, the straightness of my teeth, and the virgin quality of my mouth. They took digital photos of all of my teeth, x-rays, cleaned them, yadda. The dentist asked me if I’d ever had any teeth pulled. “No.”
“No? You’ve never had any teeth pulled?”
“Not even your wisdom teeth?”
“How often do you go to the dentist?”
“I’ve only been to a dentist about 4 times in my life.”
“4 times? You should go every 6 months!”
Another glowing bill of health. No cavities, etc. I didn’t expect anything different. When you’re born with the curse of unbridled handsomeness as I was, going to the dentist isn’t something you ever need worry about. At this stage, the only reason why I go to the dentist is because I like the feeling of extra-smooth teeth, and I get a kick out of shooting water out of the new-found gaps in my beautiful smile. I’m sure you are all wondering what my secret is to perfect dental hygiene. What do I do that’s so special that I’m rewarded with a Christ-like smile? Really I don’t have an official formula — I just go about doing my own thing. But if you follow all of these rules, maybe you’ll get perfect teeth. **
* Be born handsome. Handsomeness yields perfection from head to toe, skin to spirit.
* Have a straight set of teeth. I’ve never had braces. I have an overbite, but it works perfectly.
* Drink 2 liters of diet cola each day.
* Eat lemon wedges whenever included with iced tea. Eat the lemon rind as well.
* Don’t bother flossing. Use dental picks. They’re like soft plastic toothpicks with a brush and a pokey.
* Chew plastic. I’ve chewed plastic since I was a kid. Battleship pegs, straws and other soft plastics.
* Drink alcoholic beverages.
* Stay away from cigarettes.
* Have a pH neutralizing saliva.
** These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA or ADA and are not intended to treat, prevent or cure any disease.
Today I was visiting my gorgeous super-model friend Stormy Wyntyr at her makeup counter at Bloomie’s (because that’s where she works) when we started screwing around with the Clinique High Impact mascara.
Stormy was all like, “Hey handsome, you should try on some mascara.”
I was all like, “Please don’t call me that — call me by my birth name, Russ of America.”
“I’m sorry Russ of America. Anyway, you should try on some mascara; You have beautiful, long, thick lashes.”
“If it’s true that I have beautiful, long, thick lashes, then I’m exactly the kind of person who doesn’t need to try on the mascara. Why don’t we save it for someone who really needs it.”
“Oh come on, don’t be a wuss. We’re just having some fun; Here, let me put some on you.”
“No, I don’t…”
And Stormy started slathering my right eye with mascara.
Well, I’m sure you know where this trainwreck of an anecdote is headed, don’t you? Yep. You got it right. The mascara brush got stuck in my beautiful, long, thick lashes and we couldn’t get it out. Stormy tried to gently work it out, to no avail. She then started tugging on the brush to the point where the edges of my eyelids started to hurt. “OW OW OW OW OW!”
Stormy called 9-1-1 and when the ambulance and fire engine arrived we met them outside near the opening to the parking lot. I was so embarrassed. All sorts of people were gawking and standing around and taking photos with their cameraphones. It was the most humiliating experience of my life!
The paramedics tried to separate the lashes from the brush but they couldn’t do it. Stormy had a sudden idea (a BrainStormy – hahahaha) and she ran back inside. She came back out with about a dozen bottles of Clinique Rinse-Off Eye Makeup Solvent. And with the help of the EMTs, six tongue depressors, the dozen bottles and about an hour of coaxing, we were finally able to divorce the mascara brush from my lashes.
Oh god I was so embarrassed, but as soon as the brush was off, everybody around me started cheering and wishing me well. “You’re still handsome, Russ of America! Still handsome!”
This morning I awoke, crying into my pillow. I guess you deserve the back-story, so I’ll give it to you. Last night before I went to sleep, I was thinking about the poor, unfortunate-looking people of the world, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror next to my bed and I noticed just how amazingly long my eyelashes are. Usually, my first reaction is to empathize with those sad souls from the third world nations, because they don’t yet have the correct infrastructure established to maintain beauty. Their diets, for example, don’t usually support beauty: duck embryos and goat parts aren’t so great for the skin and they make one’s breath stinky, which makes one unattractive. What can they do? Change their diets? They’re poor! They eat whatever they can. Can all of those inland rice farmers buy blenders to make a Super Beauty Food kefir and sunflower sprout smoothie? In African famine lands can they even GROW the cucumbers and avocados they’d need for a really great facial peel?
But last night it wasn’t only about the third-world people. They’ve got much bigger miseries to sort out first before they can focus on beauty. There are people in our own backyards – even walking along Main St. USA – who are suffering from being unattractive. And as a nation we’re so desensitized to it. Think about all of those so-called “pretty boys” you’ve seen, in their Abercrombie mesh shirts, standing in front of the clubs waiting to get in like a bunch of poseurs. Why are they waiting in line? Seeing those sad young men waiting to be validated is like walking through the intensive care unit of a general hospital. The only difference is that these boys don’t know that they’re sick and afflicted. One of the first things a well-trained doorman will do is check the eyelashes. What do the Abercrombie boys’ eyelashes look like?
If they were genuinely handsome, their upper row of lashes would be thick and luxurious. Are they? What about the bottom row? See, that’s the catch, even when guys are lucky to have a wonderful upper row of lashes, the bottom row usually suffers. My lashes are full on both the top and the bottom and when I throw on some guyliner and a little mascara, regular people just stare at me with their jaws dropped because I’m like a walking Edward Hopper canvas — lonely and beautiful. But it’s not fair that regular people get knocked out of the way and ignored as a result. I’m down-to-earth, so I can say this. Anyway, I don’t wear a whole lot of eye makeup lately for this very reason. That would be gloating. Me in heavy eye-makeup is like eating a 1 ½ inch thick pepper crust ribeye steak with a cognac cream sauce in front of an Ethiopian.
I’ve never waited in line at a club in my life because I’m just on a whole other level. I tell myself that it’s not a BETTER level, just a DIFFERENT level, but that REALLY makes me want to cry because I know it’s not true and and that I’m just creating lies to force myself to ignore the obvious. I *am* on a better level because I’m handsome, and I bear this enormous burden of guilt because of it. That was the sad thought process going through my mind last night as I cried myself to sleep. When I awoke this morning, wouldn’t you know that my pillow was covered in eye makeup and I felt so horrible and guilty that I cried again until lunch.
It’s a malady too sickening if you were to contemplate it, but it’s true and it’s one of those in-your-face debilitations that is worth thirty-three cents a day on one of those late-night Feed The Ugly Children infomercials.
How much would you pay to keep me from being handsome for the rest of my life? I’d say it’s worth $10 a month. I mean, think about it. I have to endure all of the negative traits of being handsome. Mechanics cut me deals on transmission repairs, teachers want nothing but to give me the best scores on my tests in spite of having no academic prowess, and most importantly, women can’t keep their hands off of me.
“Waah!” you mock me. But imagine that every time you went to a supermarket women kept “inadvertently” bumping their shopping cart into your and chatting you up with their flirtatious ways. “Excuse me then, can you tell me how to choose eggs?” “Pardon me, but how can you tell if the pickles are ripe?” It’s a horrible ailment! I don’t much enjoy the supermarket; I just want to get in there and get out without a whole to-do.
But being terminally handsome, this is the kind of penalty I’ve had to bear ever since my inception.
Sure, there have been a few spans of my life where I was able to avoid drawing sexual attention to myself – I’ve gained weight here and there, I’ve grown beards and mustaches, I’ve had wacky hairstyles, I’ve developed a repulsive personality, but women are amazing and glorious creatures who can see clean through that contrived debris and who lust after me for what I am – an intelligent devil accursed by my intolerable handsomeness.
Today as I was doing my upper, middle and lower abdominal exercises, I started to cry because I realized that there were starving children in foreign countries who couldn’t afford to do ab exercises, and as a result, their bellies were all distended and weak, and they were probably suffering from lower back pain.
Nothing makes me sadder than the prospect of children suffering from lower back pain. To me, a child being killed by a drunk driver isn’t as bad as a child who suffers from lower back pain. I think it’s because I figure that running over a child only takes a second, where lower back pain lasts a lifetime. That’s the kind of compassion I embody.
Yes, I’m handsome and compassionate. You’d definitely want to date me, but I’d only dump my current girlfriend for the right person.
Not just a full day of being handsome, but I got overtime for being charming too.
A full day of handsome plus charming overtime? I dunno, but I think that translates into about $168/hour just for being a charming man of America. It’s so sad if I’m thinking of my regular-faced brethren, but when I’m the only variable to consider, I think it’s pretty nice.
Thank god California labor laws are favorable for a man of my advanced attraction.
Please mail all of your surplus sticks to my Valley Glen PO Box so that I might beat away the overflow of lusty women.
I wonder sometimes how the un-handsome make it through their do-nothing days. How do they make ends meet? Not only monetary ends, but their emotional ends, too. How do they attempt to apply meaning to what could only be a dreary, unaesthetic life? I think about that sometimes after I’ve had a glass or two of Cabernet and I’m listening to sad music or Kenny Loggins. But moreso I wonder how people who are just like me — the uber-handsome caste — make it through their days without buying into, or succumbing to, the external pressures applied them by their unhandsome peers. How do we control the handsomeness without being thoroughly untouchable? How do we handle the guilt we bear for being the visual examples of perfection?
The untouchable aspect of handsomeness is immoral, and so I have a real problem with that, but I don’t quite yet know how to avoid it or how to make it right. They didn’t quite explain that while I was growing up a handsome young man of America.
And so here I am today, suffering along with the rest of you, but with my own curse and pain, trying to figure it all out, while trying not to look at you. I write about my plight here so that you better appreciate it. I don’t wish for you to feel pity for me, rather for you to understand my horrors.