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‘Very creative’ face gives her the shivers

I take responsibility for spreading joy wherever I can. For instance, when I see someone with a purple streak in their hair or something eye-catching like that, I say to them, “very creative.”

Or when someone extends courtesy to a clerk, I say, “Your mother would be proud of you.” And they usually reply, “She is.” Or “was” or whatever the case may be.

Or if a man is helping load groceries for a woman, I say, “There’s something about a man who helps.” It is my intention to compliment people on their actions and maybe lift their spirits, if only for a moment. That was what I intended to happen the other day when I scared the crap out of myself.

I faithfully shop at a local discount grocery store. When I went in, I noticed little kids scurrying away with fright from a very tall man whose face I could not see because he had his back to me. The kids ran to their mother and, in horror, described this guy’s face.

I just went about my business of collecting items and went to the cash register to pay. Well, behind me, next in line, was the tall man. He had butt-drooping, Levi-type pants with a T-shirt, and a black hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head.

Being the joyful, lighthearted, polite spirit I am, I turned around and made eye contact with him and planned on saying hi. This guy had severe acne scars punctuated with piercings in every possible place you could imagine on his face. There were hoops, studs and maybe gemstones, I’m not sure what-all, but he had them everywhere. He also had tattoos on his face, neck, lips and ears, from what I could see. He probably gave a tattoo artist the best day of his creative life. His teeth were filed to points like knives. I wasn’t sure how he could keep from injuring himself when he chewed, but I didn’t see any signs of blood, so it must’ve worked for him.

I was so astonished by his appearance, and I now knew what the little kids had been afraid of. This guy was the definition of creepy. So, the thought that I say hi to him left me. I was so stunned, I came out with “very creative!”

He smiled politely through all the scars, hoops, studs, gemstones and tattoos and displayed his reengineered bite, and said, “thank you.”

I was petrified! And I thought, oh, my god, I just spoke to a serial killer. And my smile wavered. But not my joyful intentions. I wasn’t exactly pleased with myself, but oh well.

I must’ve made his day because he lightly strolled out of the store on the balls of his feet, taller than when he came in and with a slight, creepified smile on his face. You never know when it is your lucky day, and I guess he thought it was his because somebody had broken through the barrier he had set up between himself and the world, for whatever unknown reason.

Who knows why people choose to do strange stuff to themselves, but it is our job as human beings to let them know that they are OK. And blessings to them, for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.

Some people are born to be outlandish. Others achieve it. Some people can’t contain their eccentricities and wear it all over themselves. A lot of times, whatever makes someone stand out is probably their biggest asset. Makes me wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of some weird cult. Dunno.

It's got me thinking. Because, after all, I've just good-heartedly had a conversation with a very strange-looking and deeply disturbing man, haven't I? Êwwww! Shiver! I’ll never be able to unsee him. So, how was your day?

Marilyn White lives in Medford.

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