Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Defining Ourselves


They call it gauging. They punch the ear lobe – put in a metal circle to enlarge the hole in the ear and when that gets somewhat comfortable, they put in a larger circle. This continues until the hole is so large that you can drive a truck through the ear.
At a recent outdoor show, I saw a man in his 20’s that had at least an “8 gauge” hole. We talked about fishing for a while with him flipping his head back and forth and me staring extra holes through his ears; that weren’t there already.
Not being known for being backward, I asked him if I could ask him a personal question.
“I noticed your ear-rings, did it hurt to get them put in?” I asked.
“Of course. But they are not ear rings,” was his reply.
It was a cordial conversation about how it was done. Finally I got enough guts to ask the question that I really wanted to ask.
“I thought it would look neat and I wanted something to define me.”
Later that afternoon I attended the theater presentation of “AIDA.” It was extremely enjoyable for me. In Act One, the princess, Amneris, sings that clothes define who she is.
As the story continues through acts of kindness, love and compassion, she defines her life with those acts rather than the clothes she wore.
The thought kept coming back to me about what defines me. Is it my hair cut? My clothes or my actions or the way I treat others.
For Christmas I received some shirts with coordinating ties. I hate to wear ties, but decided that if I wore them with the top button undone and the ties loose it would not be so bad.
Students noticed immediately.
“Why are you dressed up today,” I was asked. My reply was that it was to make the givers of the shirts happy; namely my wife and daughters. It really did not mean anything to them, really.
How did it affect my students? Did they learn more from me than they did before? Did they respect me more than they did before the ties? I don’t think so. I think that it was a distraction. Instead of listening to what I was teaching they were judging my appearance.
On the first test that I gave after wearing the ties and coordinating shirts, nobody maxed the test and every score was lower than before.
I do not want clothes to define me. Let it be my actions, habits and the way that I treat others.
Does that mean I won’t wear any more ties – no; maybe some students need some detraction from what they are doing. But I won’t be gauging or even piercing my ears! I will leave that up to someone else.
My body had enough holes in it to make it dangerous.
Gauging has now hit my town. I met a student as I was substituting a drama class when I met Dominick. He has his ears gauged and I asked if I could get a picture. He agreed and his friend, Mike, said he was going to get his done after he turns 18 as his parents will not let him do it.
I just wonder what jobs will be unavailable to them because of gauging or if there will be a surgery developed to ungauge gauging.

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