Angels and Inner Demons

In preparation for the opening weekend of Angels and Demons, I got caught up on my Dan Brown canon and watched The Da Vinci Code.

What’s great about this film is not Tom Hank’s proverbial portrayal of a nice guy caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Nor is it Ron Howard’s sensitive and dramatic direction. Nor is it the compelling story that allows for intelligent questioning of age old institutions that often go unquestioned.

What moves me the most is a scene about 8 minutes into the movie. The albino Silas zips up his leg in a terrifying razor belt, slicing open his skin. Then, bows before a crucifix, and whips the mess out of his back, bringing up welts, tears and penitence.

An appreciation of self-punishment is vital to the Oreo experience. Pain is a perfect reminder that you are not quite good enough. And if you can bring that pain on yourself, so much the better!

So once a month, I schedule a little masochism called a relaxer touch up to keep myself in check.

No natural hair for me! No dreds or even heat processing. Instead, I spend two hours and nearly $200 to have caustic white goo poured on my scalp to force my naturally kinky hair into beautiful, luxurious submission.

If you’ve not had the pleasure of experiencing a relaxer, let me walk you through it. The stylist spreads a thick white salve on your head that smells of sulfur. For the first few seconds, the naturally cool ointment feels almost calming. Then, it does its work and your head feels like it ate 4400 habanero peppers while being digested by the acid of 2300 angry angry stomachs.

First degree burns are not uncommon. And not unnecessary. Because in the end, my hair is as straight and as silky as any shampoo model’s. Fingers ready world! Run them through it. After all, I did this for you.

As my skull is still tingling from my latest salon adventure, I thought I would pay homage to some other self-punishers. Here’s to those of us unafraid to let the demons out…or rather to keep them in where they can do the important work that personal demons are meant to do.

A tip of the hat goes to:

1701164207_933ca62bafThe Classic: Vincent Van Gogh.

His human crime: Falling in love.

The punishment: One ear removal, sans sedatives.

The Creepy: Cathie Jung.

Her human crime: Having organs in the right place.

The punishment: Forcing intestines, lungs and other vitals into a 15-inch flesh tube. Yep, this lady took the brave step of corseting her once normal waist into something that Tim Burton will use to mocap his next movie.


The Contemporary: Daniel Witwicky

His human crime: I’m not sure what poor Danny Boy did wrong, but whatever it was, the punishment seems to be having to endure all of his bones breaking into bits as his gift of a robot carcass must transform into a very non-human-shaped car every time the Autobots decide to roll out. (sorry for the long video, you can see his self-sacrifice at 3:12)

Now that’s committment. Puts my relaxer to shame. Anyone know where I can get an exosuit?

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