Thursday, July 16, 2009
BUG LIFE: The Bully
oil on linen
Meet Slugger. He's a bully. If you'll note, his right feeler thingy is missing. I imagine it was lost in a fight. He looks particularly ferocious to me for some reason. Mean and ferocious.
I remember grade school, the playground, warm milk in shrunken cartons, nap time, and the terror of facing that anything but sturdy, bright yellow metal fire escape during our monthly drills. And, I clearly remember Iris. She was different. Different in a way that a child senses different. It was that difference that drew kids to her like a magnet. They would encircle her, on the play ground, taunt her, poke at her, call her names. She would draw in on herself, put her head down, wring her hands and peer up through tangled bangs like a wounded puppy. I also remember standing in that circle once, listening to the other kids, watching Iris recoil nervously, wondering what it was all about.
And then, abruptly, I wasn't in the circle, but off to the side watching what was happening. I saw myself standing there, and as my eyes fell upon tiny, shrinking Iris, I actually saw her for what seemed like the first time. And, she looked completely different to me! She seemed somehow suddenly stronger than the children taunting her, somehow more calm, peaceful and knowing. Those are pretty weird sensations for an eight year old. But I remember it like it was yesterday.
The kids soon tired of taunting and dissipated. Iris went back to what she was doing. I have no idea what had happened or what it meant, but after that, whenever I saw Iris in the halls, I made a point of smiling at her and saying hello.
I've been working on a few graphic design jobs and haven't been able to paint much these past two weeks. I hated painting the bully. It wasn't fun and I found myself loading the brush with color I knew was wrong but somehow hoped it would work. I think it shows. A break is in order. Working on some fun concepts though, so all will be well.