If you ever happen to meet me in real life, you’ll probably notice two things, 1: I have a very particular smell about me, and 2: I think and say some pretty awful things. I could try and explain how it’s not my fault, about how I’m only kidding, and how I’m not actually a terrible person, but screw that. Instead, I’m just going to tell you about the worst thought that I ever had.
I was walking through my university’s library, looking for a quiet place to plop down and study. It must have been around final’s week, because the building was far more crowded than usual. And there, amongst the fairly motley crew of people who don’t usually go to the library, I saw it. I saw the thing that would inspire the thought that I’ll have to answer for when I die. Actually, it wasn’t an “it”. Technically it was a “her”.
She looked…..like dog-shit. Mostly dog-shit, but there could have been some other animal-shit in there as well. Just…not good. Bad, actually. Very bad.
Look, I know that most people don’t live up to societal ideals in terms of appearance, and that’s fine. Frankly, I don’t either. And I completely agree that people should not be judged on outward appearance alone. A person’s inner life is more meaningful and more interesting than their looks. I sincerely believe that. But, Mother of God, did this person look bad. How bad she looked genuinely bothered me.
The thing that I remember bothering me was the very apparent lack of effort put in. I don’t mean that she just her hair in a ponytail, or put on sweats and a t-shirt called it a day, I mean she didn’t seem to have washed herself in several months. Her entire aura very distinctly said “I have a shower, but I can’t be bothered to use it.” This was not a person who was destitute or ill, this was a person who was wearing their unattractiveness aggressively, to the point where seeing her bound me with an unrelenting fury. It’s actually hard to communicate the depths of not good-looking this person had sunk to. Not even in a shallow, superficial way- this girl was like a rotten peach.
I was looking, marveling really, at just how bad she looked, and I had a fateful thought: “I should walk up behind her, stick my finger down my throat, and throw up all over her”.
My next thought was something along the lines of, “Dear God, Paul…” which was promptly followed be “but seriously, puke on her, it’s a good idea. You should totally do it.”
At this point, I was pretty pissed off at my own psyche. I decided that walking away as fast as possible was the best course of action. As I was walking (read: subtly running) away, I asked myself the same question that I’m sure many of you are asking, “WHY?! Why in the hell would you think that?!”. First of all, stop yelling. People are starting to stare. Second, it was for her own good. You heard me chumps, vomiting on her was for her own good.
Think about what you would do if someone came up from behind, and intentionally vomited all over you. I mean later on, after you’ve screamed, chased that person around the building, and barfed on them in retaliation. What I would do, and what I suspect that many of you would do, is reconsider every decision that you’ve ever made. When something as traumatizing as being maliciously puked on happens, everything is up for consideration. If someone has been driven to be that cruel, then you must be doing something wrong. If you are a thoughtful person at all, some things are going to change around here, God damn it!
I sometimes think about that woman and that day. And when I do, I think, ” I should have gone Lindsay Lohan all over her hair.” That could have been a turning point for her. She’s probably dead in a ditch somewhere, destined to decompose into the soil. So grungy that passerby mistake her lonely corpse for a pile of highway garbage. And that’s the burden I must bear. If I had only cared enough to throw up all over her, she’d be alive and, more importantly, better groomed today.
On second thought, I might just be a bad person.