There is nothing in this world a whole lot better than a good chuckle, is there Johnny? A good, deep down belly laugh can change a day that started out gray and unpromising into one you can hardly wait to tell people about, one you chuckle over days later, maybe even one you will talk about for the rest of your life.
One day not too long ago I was perusing the news on the Internet when I ran into one of those belly laughs. Not only did the story break me up, it also gave me an idea for a long-running discussion on the online forum I do for the Roundup. We’d have had a ball with it. It would have gone on forever. I planned to call it “Only In China” — anyone who’s been watching the bizarre news from China lately knows what I mean.
What had I just read? This headline.
“Man Sues Wife For Being Ugly — And Wins.”
I’ll give you a quick summary of the article so you can see how funny it sounded at first:
“A man from northern China met an attractive woman and they married. Then they had a child. The man found the child so repulsive he was convinced it was not his. But DNA tests came back showing that he was, indeed, the child’s daddy.
“Not one to quit, the man investigated and found that his wife had been to Korea before he met her and had had $100,000 worth of cosmetic surgery. He took her to court again, accused her of marrying him under false pretenses, and was awarded a divorce and $120,000 in damages.”
I was already hard at it, doing my best to make it even funnier when I suddenly stopped.
You know why?
Look at the eyes in this before and after photo.
They stopped me.
You know what I see in those eyes? I see a young woman who looked in the mirror all her life and saw someone who wasn’t her.
Who are we, after all?
Are we nothing more than flesh and bone? Is there nothing inside that counts? Is there no real inner beauty? Have you never in all your life met someone who proved that it is possible for someone to shine from within?
Look at the eyes in that “before” photograph. Can you see the sense of hopelessness in them? That face says that its owner has given up all hope of a decent life. That is the living face of defeat, the face of someone who knows she is beaten before she starts.
And then look at the eyes in the after photograph. Can you see the hope in them? The breathless sense of expectancy? They are the eyes of someone who is waiting, hoping, literally begging for us to care for her. And when you see that look of hope, remember that inside that now beautiful face is a woman who must have looked in the mirror a thousand times and asked what she had done to be born so ugly.
Think of what it must have taken to change that before picture into that after picture. How many operations? How many times under the knife? How many days spent in pain and misery? How many days spent in fear that it might turn out to be for nothing?
Put yourself inside that before face, and then, after months and months of surgery and recovery, put yourself inside that after face and see yourself walking into a room and waiting for the reaction of the first person who has never seen you before. Think of what you felt as someone smiled at you because you were now as beautiful on the outside as you had always been on the inside.
We are all cripples in some way. Some of us are agile, some clumsy; some witty, some dull; some talented, some not; some tall, some short; some strong, some weak.
Some beautiful, some plain.
Some things we cannot change. Some things we can.
Who is to say where we should draw the line?
Not me, Johnny. Not me.