While I was visiting family over the holidays, I had the chance to spend a few idle hours flipping through the many tv channels that come with cable tv. Which I do not have. It can be fun to browse the HGTV shows, or watch something on the Discovery channel, some documentary on NOVA, or even stare in shock at one of the reality based trash shows you find almost everywhere, and that are difficult to avoid.
There are fake talk shows hosted by fake personalities who spend the whole time dishing gossip about the fake reality tv celebrities. It’s mind numbing. The ones where everyone is unkind to one another, I cannot stand for more than a few seconds. I have to change the channel to something pleasant.
While flipping through this wide selection one afternoon, I paused for one segment of a tv show about plastic surgery. Nightmare faces that have been distorted into masks of melting wax. Women with enormous breasts wanting them to be even more enormous. Plenty of people with surgeries gone wrong coming back in the hopes the damage can be repaired.
Then there was plastic man. He deserved a full episode to himself. This guy had a fixation with the comic book character Superman, and decided that he was going to make himself into the man of steel. One procedure at a time. He’d already had over twenty, and he looked like a freak.
His facial bone structure was nothing like what he started out with naturally, nor was it anything resembling human. Robotic would be more like it. Metal planes for cheeks. Geometric lines carving out his chin. His nose drawn with a ruler.
His face reminded me of Max Headroom, from the 1980s. He was trying to look like an illustration of a man, which is what Superman was. He was a comic book character. A drawing. A man who existed in drawings.
Sure, eventually he would appear on tv screens and movie screens, but in those instances, he was played by an actor. An actor who looked human. With a human face. This guy didn’t appear interested in looking like Christopher Reeve. He was interested in looking like the illustrations.
So his face looked like a robot’s face. His hair looked plastic. Thick and too black and too shiny and sprayed into a helmet. His eyes were intensely blue, and too large for the rest of his face. It was kind of creepy, actually. Big blue plastic eyes.
Those procedures had already been done. The reason he was coming to the surgeons on the show was to address his body. Which was short and pudgy. No one wanted a Superman who was short and pudgy, no matter how plastic or robotic his face appeared.
There was nothing to be done about his height, but this guy was convinced he could pay for abs of steel. He wanted a sculpted musculature. The physique of a super hero. Without the bother of lifting weights.
“Do you have a gym membership?” Asked the surprisingly reasonable charlatan plastic surgeon on the show.
“Why I need that when I have you?” That is not a typo, that is a direct quote.
It was a good question. The first one, I mean. Why spend thousands of dollars to go through a painful cosmetic procedure, when with a few months of dedication, he could have the muscular body he is seeking? Especially since the results of the surgery will not be permanent. Anyone who has ever had a tummy tuck, or whatever they call it now, can tell you how quickly they need another. The tendency to gain weight does not go away, not without a change in diet and exercise.
Possibly to fill out the segment, they examined him and considered all his options. He had already had several injections of some substance which has been banned here in the United States, which means he has travelled somewhere else to find a shady doctor who didn’t mind giving him those injections.
After reprimanding him for that, and warning him about the dangers of any future injections, the good doctor explained that he would not be able to artificially create a muscular body, fit for Superman. The only way to get that kind of body would be to build it. By lifting weights.
I have to say, I was glad to hear this. Given the nature of these type of shows, I was expecting them to take his money and go ahead with the surgery. The plastic guy had made it clear he would pay whatever it cost, and was anxious to have them give him what he wanted.
What he got instead was a stern scolding, and was sent on his way. Good. I wish they would say no to more of them, but then I guess they wouldn’t have a show.