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Oh, to Be a Complex Man
If there were a reality to wishes, I would wish to be a complex man. Yes, that would be my only wish. Not world peace although that would be a noble thought. Not massive wealth which most people wish for when given three wishes by a fabled genie. I am foolish I suppose in just wishing for such personal complexities that even my closest friends will whisper upon me leaving the room, "that Kenny. What a complex man."
Upon facing the realization of my friends tagging me as "complex," I would be beyond common, average or even regular, three labels that most of us common people put on every morning. I have to tell you with clear conscience, I am tired of the average life that I am living. I did not say that I was tired of living. Just do not make the obvious mistake in misreading those statements. Did you see that? I actually wrote and then explained a complex sentence before your very eyes. Regular guys cannot do that.
If the day were to be at hand for me to be transformed from a regular to a complex man, I would certainly have to sit down and think about my new life. I mean no one who has ever been given a wish such as mine would be foolish enough to just jump right into his (or her) new life without any thought would they? No. Only regular folks with regular thoughts do things like that. Not us complex people. And not this complex man.
I first heard this term, "complex man," a few years ago during a movie review about a film entitled, "Chaplin," starring the perfectly-cast Robert Downey, Jr., as Charles Chaplin, comic genius of the early days of silent films. The host of the show said (of Downey, Jr.), "Downey is the right man for the Chaplin role for he (Downey, Jr.) is certain a complex man as Charles Chaplin was." That's all it took to ignite my personal dream of becoming a complex man.
Was it easy to learn what tools to use and what tools not to use in my search for personal complexity? Sure. It has been said that any thing worth having is worth working for. And while I agree with this saying that is surely one of the innumerable planks in the foundation of our society, I have to digress in thinking that why must being complex so tough to achieve? My point is people like Chaplin, Vincent van Gogh and John Calipari had to be born with whatever personality trait caused people to call them "complex." They didn't just wake up one day and shout, "World! I am going to be a complex man today." Even the dreamer (at heart) that I am, cannot grasp the ease of that formula.
Now allow me this spurt of honesty. I am not under any false or dim impression that in order for me to be a complex individual, I would have to discipline myself and human senses to coincide with the various changes that becoming a complex man would bring to my life.
I would have to smell like a complex man. You see? Common people I have observed, do not smell like complex people. While in my schooldays I knew a handful of complex people who had "a" certain smell about them as opposed to my common smell that obviously deprived me from many social opportunities and educational favors as I grew older. I would sit and daydream about what brand of soap these complex students were using--Lux? Lifebuoy? No, it had to be Palmolive. That was it. But as soon as I lobbied with my mother who was the one who bought our household wares about my desperation of having to have Palmolive soap to bathe with, she reacted very sternly and told me that I would use whatever soap that she could afford without even considering that my using Palmolive soap would mean her baby son being accepted by those who were somebody and knew other somebodies. That's what using the right brand of soap will do for a young person.
Of course when it came to seeing things in school and life, I would have to say good-bye to comic books. Complex guys do not read Action Comics. They read National Geographic or TIME and it is a fact that you will not find any pulp fiction or comic books with dog ear'd pages in their rooms. What you will find is a neatly-organized bookshelf with the current edition of the Britannica Encyclopedia for them to do needed research for important papers for school. Not that complex students need these expensive books. It's just that their complex parents do not want to take any chances when it comes to their complex children getting and maintaining a higher level of education as well as life itself.
My mother also shot down my idea for her to subscribe to LOOK magazine since at that time, 1966, it was far cheaper than National Geographic. My mother. What a wise shopper. By the way, she could be complex when she needed to. My dad on the other hand did not care either way.
I did think about how I was supposed to feel now that I was a complex guy. I would not feel any urges to place raw eggs in my least-favorite teacher's chair while her back was turned. Those high jinks are only for the regular and common male students. Me? I would have to get up each day with my eyebrows arching in the middle to an upward slant giving me that complex, haughty look. No more wearing a goofy smile who said to those I met, "Hello. I am a common student. I do not know that much. I can easily be taken advantage of." None of that. Good-bye, goofy smile. It was the eyebrows arched in the middle to an upward slant for me. Plus I would have to feel as if I were a lot better than the common, regular guys in my section of the classroom.
Maybe, I thought. The teacher would see that I had experienced a major metamorphosis in my life and was now among the complex and allow me to sit with the complex students.I never knew that r, a Mrs. Lena Dozier, a seasoned veteran of chalk-filled classrooms, rowdy students, and not getting paid her worth, would be quick to agree in my moving to sit with the complex students (who just humored her by showing up for class each day), would be so quick to be angry at a student who was now a complex student longing to be with other complex students.
But this would not defeat me as I would continue my trek of complex life as a 12-year-old guy having to attend class each day with the common students. I know me. I would have to stop and ponder, "when I was a common student, was I really that stupid?" Then I would softly laugh in that complex student fashion as to not give my thoughts away to common kids who would surely ask me what was the topic of my laughter if they were to hear me. I would not have to take a long mentorship in learning how to feel complex. I could get it down in one day. See? Even in that day, 1966, I would already be feeling complex and ready to change the world around me.
When I would be alone at home or at school, I would have to be able to watch how I talked and what came out of my mouth. Up until that powerful genie gave me that one wish of being a complex student, I had mispronounced words like "they," "their," and "necessary." Now my complex mouth and lips would say complex words like, "Interesting," "You don't say," and maybe, "How interesting," depending on the number and station of life the people around me were and what they were saying. Complex people have a 24/7 job at keeping themselves unspotted from common people. It is more like a valiant quest like those in King Arthur's days to keep oneself apart from the masses by being and living complex.
All of these areas of my life that I had to change from common to complex, I can attest to the challenge of what I heard and what I would now hear on a daily basis for as you well know, complex people do not listen to the same music or speeches as the common people do. That is really sad too. I would most certainly be a "Complex Goodwill Ambassador" to secure peaceful relations with the common, average students as well as the complex students who would always catch themselves when they would start to say, "Kenny, what are you . . ." then they would giggle, chuckle as I would join them for now I was one of them. And even complex students can laugh at themselves, but only in complex circles. That is the rule.
Now that I have shared my dream with you. Do you somehow feel as I do about being changed from a common person into the complex world of successful, popular complex people? I certainly hope that "if" one day that humble genie named "Ahbib," shows up in a puff of smoke that smells like a stick of cotton candy bought one hot Friday night from a cheap, traveling carnival, and grants me this one wish of being a complex man, well, I will try to not offend anyone.
But the lesson for me here is: "With being complex comes a heavy burden."
© 2017 Kenneth Avery