There’s an old expression that I may have just made up that suggests when going to the ballet one should not sit too close to the stage as it will flaw the delicate illusion. For proof of this axiom’s validity one need look no further than my front row seat to a 2006 performance of Swan Lake by the Mariinsky Ballet Company; a seat in which I was close enough to see the nicotine stains on Princess Odette’s fingers and to also have my plastic wine glass of cabernet sauvignon knocked out of my hand by Prince Siegfried’s bulging codpiece. Hey Victor Baranov, if you’re reading this you owe me $8 for the wine and $13.25 for the dry cleaning bill. Send me $20 and we can call it even. That’s 490 Rubles if you’re too busy reinforcing your jockstrap to do the conversion comrade.
If you needed another example of how being too close to a live performance can destroy the illusion and make suspending disbelief exceedingly difficult I submit for your approval the spectacle that was WWE Smackdown Wrestling that Jack and I attended on Wednesday night. Though we were sitting in Section 122 Row Q and easily 150 feet away from the ring, we could still see the steroid needle marks on the upper thigh of Batista and the gap big enough to drive Victor Baranov’s codpiece through between Big Daddy V’s hand and Kane’s head each time a stage punch was thrown. Last time I saw hits that fake they were on a Milli Vanilli album.
The best part of the show was when the wrestlers were either entering or leaving the ring and had to walk just inches from insult-hurling riled-up inebriated fans holding cardboard signs that read, “Edge Sux!” and “The Animul is Awesume!” and my favorite, “Kane is Abel to Kick Yer Ass!”Nothing brings a father and son together quite like watching a 7 ft 3 in 420lb pigeon-toed Indian behemoth nicknamed The Punjabi Nightmare jaw it up with a 5 ft 6 in 137lb cross-eyed convenient store clerk nicknamed Slim Jim.
Sure, most of the night Jack was more interested in the glossy program guide than the actual matches, it took multiple Mountain Dews to get him to stay awake until 11:00, the guy in the Buffalo Bills winter coat next to us smelled like whiskey and garlic, and the show lacked the pageantry, flamboyance and pyrotechnics of a televised event but overall I think Jack had a good time even when he cried during the National Anthem because he said the American flag looked lonely. (A poignant observation I thought of our country’s foreign policy and perception on the international stage)
Now, lest you think a ticket to watch sweaty grown men in spandex, or Mandex (copyright pending), grapple and slam each other for three hours was Jack’s only present he did also receive, among other things, the highly-coveted Omnitrix from his cartoon crush du jour: Ben10.
Ben10 is a Cartoon Network creation about a 10-year old boy named Ben Tennyson who finds a watch-like device called an Omnitrix that allows him to transform into a variety of Alien life forms each with their own unique powers. From what I can determine the show is an animated social commentary about Multiple Personality Disorder and based loosely on Flora Rheta Schreiber’s book Sybil. I think Sally Field may do the voice of Ben, and if she doesn’t she should.
To compliment the Omnitrix Jack also received the rest of the Ben10 Alien Action Figures he didn’t already possess. Inaccuracy Alert!!! Since my familiarity with these Ben10 characters comes from what Jack tells me while gnawing on a cheese stick or mumbles in his sleep I can’t guarantee the following alien descriptions are even close to correct.
FourArms: Built for power instead of speed FourArms has four arms, four eyes and like a cow, four stomachs. He is named FourArms because if he was named FourEyes he would have to look like a member of my high school chess team. (Hey listen Grady Booth, if you didn’t want the nickname you could have always gotten contact lenses.)
Diamondhead: As his name suggests Diamondhead is made from diamonds, is nearly invulnerable and smells like Elizabeth Taylor. Like being a member of my high school chess team, his body discourages physical contact. (Seriously Grady, coke-bottle lenses and chess team captain not to mention you had a full beard in the 11th grade? Welcome to Virgintown, Population: Us)
GhostFreak: Resembling a wraith-like genie, GhostFreak is part of a hive mind with a vast genetic memory that remembers everything, much like girlfriends and wives. GhostFreak also has an abnormal attraction to Jennifer Love Hewitt especially in light of her recent tabloid bathing suit photos.
Grey Matter: From the planet Galvan, Grey Matter is a diminutive grey-skinned frog-like being with bulging eyes related to Steve Buscemi on his mother’s side.
Heatblast: From the planet Pyronite, Heatblast is magma-based creature but only while he’s underground. Once on the surface he becomes a lava-based creature. (Thank you Mr. Pulver, 8th grade Earth Science teacher extraordinaire) His primary trait is his control over fire which includes bolts of flame, heat radiation and the final two-minutes of The Apprentice.
Ripjaws: Part alligator, part eel, part anglerfish, and part leech, Ripjaws greatest strength is as a Used Car salesman.
Stinkfly: Meant to resemble a combination of a dragonfly, a cricket, and praying mantis Stinkfly can not only fly as his name suggests but can also can excrete high-pressure streams of liquids that can range from a flammable toxin to an immobilizing jelly; like genital herpes only more fun.
Upgrade: Named after the Beyoncé song, Upgrade comes standard with Windows Vista.
Wildmutt: A cross between a lion and a gorilla, Wildmutt is unable to speak in any understandable fashion, instead relying on snarls and growls. Because of these traits Wildmutt was recruited as a pledge candidate by the Delta Tau Chi House during their rush week.
XLR8 – His name suggests that he might be a rapper on the Death Row Record Label, but he actually just works in the Vanity License Plate Division of the DMV.
Word has it that fans can go to the Ben10 website to cast their ballot for a new alien to be added to the Omnitrix. Please go a to the Ben10 website today…
Codpiece needs your vote.