Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Hypotheticals

A few weeks back my friend Jay offered up a hypothetical question. He wanted me to seriously consider my answer before giving it and make sure that it was the precise answer I'd want to give.

The question was, "If you could pick any act to punch, once, in the face with no repercussions, who would it be?"

As an odd afterthought he added, "I might know who it'd be, and if you don't pick him when I say it you'll wish you did."

Now Dean answered right away with some possibly dumb, timely answer, but I sat there contemplating for maybe a good twenty minutes while I thought out my response. The conversation changed while I sat, thinking.

I am not a violent man. Nor am I a strong man. I have, twice in my life, diffused almost certain ass kickings of myself by pointing out how incredibly easy, unsatisfying and unproductive kicking my ass would be. However the thought persisted. I was to punch any celebrity. Regardless of how we came there, I was to strike a man–need it be a man? Could I strike a woman?–I was to pummel an actor.

The part of my brain the works through time-travel/predestination problems kicked in. If, in the future, I know I will be punching an actor in the face, who could possibly drive me to such an act?"

I considered my list of people who instantly piss my off, simply by seeing them: Ben Stiller, Ashton Kutcher, Sandra Bullock, Mel Gibson, Nicholas Cage, Keanu Reeves, but nothing. All these people I hate with a passion. I see them and I instantly are aware that they are actors. Every movie they appear in is ruined for me. I hate them all and I wish they would stop being alive.

But at the same time there are redemptive qualities. Nick Cage, for example, is a horrible actor, but I think he'd be a nice guy if I met him. Mel Gibson might be an antisemitic bastard, but he knows he's a bastard. i appreciate assholes who know they are assholes and don't try to hide it.

Yes, there are other actors I would desire to inflict pain on, personally, but I want this punch to really count. If someone punches Kevin Fedderline in the face this week no one is going to care next week. Likewise, if I smacked Sandra Bullock it won't stop her from making horrible movies that make divorced 30-somethings and housewives cry. Tom Cruise will still be just as insane, and what's worse he'll feel vindicated in the prosecution of scientology.

This punch needs to be for me and me alone. I can attain nothing from it. It must be high-profile but also satisfactory even if it has no lasting repercussions.

And the weird thing is I've known all along.

I tell Jay, "I think I've got one. And the weird thing is I'm pretty sure this guy could take the hit standing and then turn around and kill me with his bare hands-"

And this is where Jay reminds me and says, "No, it's cool. You get one hit, no consequences."

"-But I think I don't care. I want this one," I finish.

"Okay…" Jay waits.

"Tom Hanks," I say. "I would want to punch Tom Hanks in the face so hard I don't even care if he kills me after. He just annoys me. He seems like a perfectly nice guy in interviews, but he's too nice. I hate him and everything he's ever been in, even the things he's been in that I liked, I hate because he is in them."

"That's interesting," Jay says. "Most people who say that have only seen Old Tom Hanks, not his early stuff."

"I am aware of his early works," I say. "I have not seen them because I can't stand him, but I am aware of them. I can't stand his face. That stupid, confused face like crushed boyhood optimism straining under the weight of reality that he wears every day in every scene of every film frame. I cannot abide Tome Hanks and I am sure he is a wonderful person to sit and drink and joke with, but I cannot stand his stupid face and I want to punch him in it so much that my muscles tense at the thought. My adrenal glands secrete liquid energy, my eyesight becomes suddenly sharper, my hearing more acute. I become so enraptured with the idea of striking this man just once, to cause pain to him for everything he has done to keep me even the slightest steps farther out of touch with humanity at large and I become even slightly aroused at the idea. This is passion brewing. Pure passion unfettered by morality or logic, only a sense of carnal justice unleashed by the thought that I can cast off society's restraints and once, for a brief moment, indulge my baser instincts to destroy that which I hate for pride and honor and the chance to usurp what it has I feel so wrongfully been lavished with."

"So yeah," I say. "If I could punch any actor in the face it'd be Tom Hanks."

"Alright," Jay says. "I'd punch Hayden Christiansen. I just feel like he'd be a little bitch. I had a dream where I got to meet him and I realized I'd never get the chance again, so I apologized and just punched. Him. In. The. Face. He cried like a little bitch."

"I want to make him cry," Jay said.


  1. why did I give a stupid answer?

  2. I'm going to read this. I tried, but I'm kind of drunk. Ok...I'm plastered. I'll read it later haha.

    And now that I've probably given you fodder for your next blog, good night.

  3. I don't really recall, Dean, but I remember thinking you couldn't possibly have put much thought into your answer. You answered quickly with someone relatively current and without any good, solid hatred for them in your voice.

  4. ...Oh gods....

    I want to punch Hanks too!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.