For those of you who don’t know — which is most of you — I used to be an actor.
For the most part, every actor dreams of playing one role.
A few years back I got the opportunity to do so.
I worked tirelessly to ensure I knew what every last word meant — it lead to a lot of late nights of studying, face and eyes into Albert Schmidt’s Shakespearean Lexicon as well as a number of other editions of the play, and oodles of sword-fighting rehearsals.
I wanted to give every ounce I had into being this man.
The day the review came out in The Telegram (our local paper) I was excited, I ran to the gas station down the hill from me and cracked open a paper.
Here’s the opening line of the critique of my performance:
“Dave Sullivan is no matinee idol.”
Which basically means:
“Everyone, Hamlet is fat!”
Hours, nights, days, weeks, months of work reduced to — buddy’s fugly.
Which leads me to my point.
Why do people feel the need to remind big folks that they’re big?
Guys, we know. We’re all too aware of how our bodies move through space.
In my home province in Canada there’s this thing that people do. They meet you after not having seen you in a while and they greet you with:
“My god, you’re some size.”
“Jesus, look at the size of ya.”
“You’re after gettin’ some big.”
Yes. Yes I am. I am after gettin’ some big.
And I know, I know that people don’t mean anything by this. I get that.
But, here’s the thing — there has to be something else. Another thing you can mention.
“Those are nice glasses.”
Or if that’s not enough…
“You look happy.”
“I heard you were raised by wolves, that’s fascinating. Do tell me more.”
Stating the obvious is setting up an uncomfortable dynamic, and nine times out of ten it’s: “you’re heavier than me”.
We know. Seriously. Got it covered — in spades.
It’s plastered all over our television sets, our newspapers, our computers, our children’s toys — if we didn’t know, then we’d have much bigger problems than weight.
Here’s my dream.
Talk to me like I’m an equal. Say: “hello, how are you?”
And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, it’s not a big deal.
And for the most part, you might just be right. But, having experienced this kind of greeting for the entirety of my adult life — it has an impact, regardless of its intentions.
Maybe I’m alone in this. I don’t know.
But for once in my life, I’d like to not be fat Hamlet.
“The rest is silence.”