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The Phoniness of American Life

Updated on May 21, 2013
Some real fake hair
Some real fake hair
You cannot fake a freckle.
You cannot fake a freckle.
A "pre-cancerous" meal of potato chips
A "pre-cancerous" meal of potato chips
Proof of global warming?
Proof of global warming?
New York City never looked so real.
New York City never looked so real.
A real fake magazine
A real fake magazine
You cannot fake this smile.
You cannot fake this smile.

Many people these days are phony. Fake hair, imitation eye color, capped teeth, bogus lips, hips, and other cushions. It’s all fake, I tell you, yet some folks say, “I’m just trying to be real.”

I haven’t combed my hair since 1999—and no, I’m not bald.

What’s up with tanning salons? They’re fake, too. Paying someone to get skin cancer. Oh, I know tanning salons are perfectly safe nowadays except in horror movies, but just about everything is bad for you including too much sun.

What are freckles anyway? I think they’re sexy and not just because I have them. They’re real. You can’t fake a freckle, but I’m sure some cosmetic genius will one day sell freckle implants for the freckle-challenged. Then they’ll sell moles and birthmarks, too, as if they’re cool which they aren’t because I have a few moles and they’re probably pre-cancerous.

There’s a loaded word. “Pre-cancerous.” Everything is pre-cancerous when you think about it. Air. Water. Andy Capp Hot Fries. Potato chips. College cafeteria food. Doritos. All are probably pre-cancerous. The greens and brown beans and cornbread and baked chicken and rice and hot apples I love to have for Sunday dinner—pre-cancerous. It’s just a crummy hyphenated word doctors use to scare the health into us so they can have jobs.

People manufacture all the fear in the world, and I swear nothing is true out there. The sun is getting hotter. The sun is getting colder. The polar ice caps are melting. The polar ice caps are not melting. A new Ice Age is coming—at least to the theaters, to the East Coast of the United States, and to the Republicans.

Why does New York City get so much abuse in the movies? New York City has been destroyed repeatedly ever since the original King Kong, a movie that wouldn’t scare anyone today as if a gorilla is ever going to be 24 feet tall. I’ll bet no one told King Kong that he had a pre-cancerous toe or thumb or bananas are bad for him or maybe that woman in his hand will never truly love him the way, say, a big 24-foot-tall female gorilla might.

But we all want what we can’t have, we all want what looks good, we all want what’s fake. We eat the topping on the ice cream and leave the ice cream in the bowl.

I’ve seen some of these celebrity fake people without their fake eyes and hair and makeup and capped teeth and Botox treatments online and in reputable magazines like The Star and The National Enquirer while I’m fumbling for my Kroger-Plus card in the checkout line. Surprise! These so-called celebrities look just like us without their fake eyes and hair and makeup and capped teeth and Botox. And since we don’t want to be ourselves, you would think that we wouldn’t want to be like fake celebrities either.

Then no one would be fake, and we’d all eat brown beans and cornbread together and watch old black and white movies about King Kong and his pre-cancerous fur and laugh and have a good time without a care in the world—until some doctor figures out that all this happiness is bad for us, too, and puts out a warning label on happiness.

Well, let the doctors tell us that happiness will kill us, because I know folks will indulge in happiness more. We humans are contrary that way. It’s in our DNA.

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