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The rantings and ramblings of Kimberly Allison

Friday, May 7, 2010

Art Therapy (or... "The continued adventures of Muscle Head and Monkey Boy")

Art can be powerful therapy. Taking our inspiration from emotions, events and those around us, we can artistically translate how we see those events. Unless you ask me (or I volunteer) people may not be aware that the cute sculpture they hold in their hands is actually an event that struck me, or someone who I felt the need to take down a notch in a very passive-aggressive manner.
Meet Muscle Head and Monkey Boy. Two not-so-nice (or smart) people who became hilarious sculptures.

I show at a San Diego tourist hotspot. Along with bona fide artists and vendors, a couple of modern Snake Oil Salesmen have joined us. Selling, of all things, special power-increasing hologram bracelets. According to them, they will improve balance, increase stamina, raise the dead and so forth. After watching these body-building, steriod-filled dunces for a few weeks a few things became very apparent:

1) P. T. Barnum was right. A sucker is born every minute. These men stage a huge show on unsuspecting tourists... having a customer stand on one foot and allowing them to pull on their shoulder. Of course, the poor schmuck will lose balance. Then the magical bracelet is placed on their opposite shoulder and the muscle-men pretend to pull with all their might. Ok. If these things really work, why aren't people allowed to have their companions attempt to test their balance? But, the poor schmoes shell out $35. (They don't hear the derisive laughter that I hear as they walk away!)

2) Big and dumb do go together. Both these guys are muscle bound body builders. In fact, the man nicknamed Monkey Boy has gained this moniker by us other vendors since his large chest muscles don't allow his arms to rest at his sides, giving him a simian posture. But, all that blood flow to the biceps has deprived their brains. One day I overheard them talking excitedly about a televised mixed martial arts fight, being held in Abu Dabai. Monkey Boy wanted to know where Abu Dabai was. Muscle Head boastfully informed him "Somewhere in India."

3) They are rude and obnoxious. If you stand in front of their booth, their speech is peppered with 'yes sir / no ma'am" (Muscle Head likes to pretend to the right crowd that he is a Marine on stand-by). But if anyone disagrees with them or their hard-sell technique or questions the validity of their claims, be prepared to be shouted down, belittled or intimidated. Being a professional with 25 years in customer service, this REALLY ires me.
After seeing the latest customer grab her group and rush off while being screamed at, I tried to calmly (key word there!) let Monkey Boy know that this was bad business and unacceptable to me. I got a heated "Oh yeah? Well this is MY business and I can do whatever I want."

Well, guess what? I am an artist and I can create whatever I want!

Name: Muscle Head
Created: May 5, 2010
Biography: More brawn than brains, he runs around with his magic bracelet, hooting a lot. Harbors a secret desire to dance Bollywood routines in Abu Dabai.
Contents: Cashmere sweaters, wool, recycled ribbon and button
Status: Ready for adoption

Name: Monkey Boy
Created: May 7, 2010
Biography: An ape with an attitude. Screeches and flings poo at random. But at night, when he thinks no one is watching, he plays with his banana while singing Celine Dion songs.
Contents: Cashmere sweaters, wool blanket, recycled ribbon and buttons
Status: Currently at Stampington Press ("Stuffed" magazine) for publication submission.

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