Verily Scarily

by Vicki Nunn

There was a fellow at a former workplace who wore long denim shorts down to his knees in the warmer months. We women teased him about his knees and his manly legs, and he told us ladies to keep our hands to ourselves. Obviously, he was irresistible!

Working out in the field, it made sense for him to wear shorts, but I can’t imagine it’s the best attire to wear somewhere that you want to be taken seriously such as a meeting, a conference or to the opera.

I was reminded of this when my friend Ana did some face-painting with the kids at her old workplace. Several of the children had their faces painted, so Ana decided to join in the fun, and had her own face done at the same time. She ended up looking quite literally, like a clown.

It was a little later, when she was endeavouring to discipline the kids and tried to bring them under control, that she made a rather interesting discovery: no-one is going to take you too seriously if you look like a clown.

So than I wondered, would the head clown at a circus have trouble keeping the lesser clowns in order?  “Boss, if you want me to shovel elephant poop, the least you can do is wipe that smile off your face!’

It’s probably a good thing for politicians to keep in mind. I can recall several politicians losing the respect of the public by a little light-hearted foolishness. Many Australians will recall in the mid 90’s the then Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, wore a pair of fishnet stockings and high-heeled shoes for a fund-raising event. Cartoonists had a field day and for many months afterwards, continued to portray Downer in fishnets.

While he may once have aspired to become Australian Prime Minister, after that event, the man might as well have handed in his resignation. Every time the Australian public looked at him they thought, “Yep, that’s the man I want running my country, because any man who wears fishnets and high-heels is superbly suited to the role of diplomat and will surely be taken seriously in discussions with esteemed leaders of foreign countries or if we go to war.”

I’m sure he scared a few people with his taste in footwear, while I, on the other hand, once frightened a little child by some things I had in my neck.

A number of years ago, I had thyroid surgery which resulted in a 12cm cut around the base of my throat, held together by a dozen large staples.

A week after the operation I stepped into the lift at the hospital to attend a check-up. I could feel the other two occupants ogling my grotesque appearance. The little girl stared at me in horrified fascination – probably because I looked somewhat like Frankenstein with the dozen large metal staples stuck into the raw-looking wound around my neck, that looked as if someone had tried to cut my throat. The added swelling and bruising wouldn’t have helped my appearance either.

The little girl appeared to be too terrified to scream – she just clutched piteously at her mother, and probably hoped desperately that I wouldn’t eat her.

I think I may have scarred that child for life.

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