On The Defense
Sometimes I get sick and tired of having to explain my interests.
Now, after an opening sentence like that, it seems redundant to say that I have to explain myself, but here goes. Most of my interests are…strange. I don’t consider them strange, but I’ve slowly realized that most of the world does. I once saw an interview on VH1 with Rob Zombie that explained it best.
He said, “ No one tries to be the weird kid. You just wake up one day, notice everyone else is into football while you’re reading books on serial killers, and realize you’re the weird one.”
I’ve always been the odd one, especially when it comes to entertainment. While I’m into a ton of different things, my first love always has and always will be horror movies. I can still vividly remember watching Child’s Play at 5 years old (the one with Chuckie, the killer doll), and how it took me nearly 3 hours to watch this 90 minute movie because I kept pausing it and running behind my couch to calm myself down. My parents thought I was so terrified that I would never watch another movie again. At the end, my mom turned to me and asked a simple question.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” I smiled. “ Can I see the second one?”
Something clicked ( or snapped, depending on how you want to look at it) and from then on I started devouring horror movies. I cleaned out every video store near me ( remember when those existed?) and imported hard-to-find-hits from overseas. I became such a horror junkie that I eventually was writing for Fangoria magazine about some of the most gruesome films in the world. I’ve even studied the history of the genre, in film and otherwise, and it’s impact on society as a whole, and all of the strangeness that goes along with it. Did you know the rise of 80’s slasher movies ( where teens are stalked by masked murderers and killed for having sex/smoking pot etc.) coincided directly with the rise of AIDS? Or that the award for Best Special Effects was created after critics saw the transformation scene from “An American Werewolf In London”? Or that “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” was a direct blowback to the fear of communism gripping 1950’s America?
Anyhow, the only problem with loving horror is that this is an interest that you have to constantly defend. In fact, most of mine are ( videogames, horror movies, heavy metal, etc.), but horror is the one people generally understand the least. People will ask me how I like “that stuff”, complain about the violence, or how they don’t like getting scared, or how all horror movies are “trash”. Meanwhile, I sit and think about how to answer such condescending questions, as if I asked you, “ how do you like those romantic comedies so much? They’re literally all the same story, they all have to end with the main characters getting together, and they all replace genuine laughs and humor with women who are constantly tripping over things in every scene. What gives?”
Why have I told you all this? Apart from sharing something I’m passionate about ( and getting in a quick jab at romantic comedies), I find it strange how often I find myself defending/explaining diabetes in the same vein as my other interests. “ How’d you get that? Aren’t you supposed to be fat?” “ You just need diet and exercize, right?” “ Couldn’t you just get a transplant?”
No, no, kind of, but no. Debunking myths is tough, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to completely correct people’s malformed notions of a disease that they picked up second-hand from their cousin’s-uncle’s-best-friend’s-wife. Type 1 diabetics generally don’t get a fair shake, if only because our own brother from another mother (type 2) effects so many more people. That’s one of the many reasons I’ve always felt a cure for this disease is such a hard thing to fight for–when 90 percent of the population with your disease isn’t “terminal” it’s hard to muster the support.
Of course, people keep walking, riding, dancing, and hula-hooping (?) their way to a cure. People are raising money however they can, in absolutely staggering amounts. We are not a silent minority. In fact, considering we make up only 10 percent of the diabetic population, it’s nothing short of amazing the amount of fundraising we manage to raise.
Seeing as how the next few months are peak “cure walk” season, we’re going to be rolling out a bunch of new reports, changes, and initiatives that we think are going to shake up an awful lot of people. We want to make sure all this money raised is going where it needs to–funding a practical cure. In the meantime, enjoy the start of summer, get to the beach, get in the sun. And if anyone wants to share some of their odd interests, post them below, or on the facebook page.
Until next time.