You have to remember the 80's to really understand what "generic" means. Imagine turning your shopping cart down the aisle of your favorite supermarket. Suddenly, you were shopping in a Orwellian nightmare. Every can, box and package bore a white label with stark black lettering. Imagine the horror of generic Spam... a white label with black text announcing the contents as "processed meat product". You get the idea.
People can be generic. This term coined by a good friend describes someone wrapped in a plain white label. It's the person who is a doppelganger to a total stranger. A case of mistaken identity.
I am generic. Always have been. I have that neutral look that always reminds someone of someone else.
It almost got me in trouble at beauty school. I was the spitting image of a gal who stole the boyfriend of another student. I swore this chick stalked me! She showed up at the fast food restaurant where I worked and stood by the door, shooting visual daggers through eyes of hate. You can imagine the tension! It wasn't until the same girl showed up as a fellow student at school and learned my name, that her hatred turned to sheepish embarrassment.
As awkward as that was, it was nothing compared to the episode of a "walk-in customer" at a salon where I worked. I walked up to introduce myself, only to see her face drain to white. I looked identical to the woman's murdered niece! Now that is creepy.
Even my husband is generic. Like all good hairdressers, I kept a picture of my handsome boyfriend tucked into a corner of my mirror. One customer became incensed. She started to drill me about his name and how I knew him. Each question becoming more and more accusatory. You can guess it. Mark looked exactly like the woman's philandering son-in-law. Once the truth came out, I never saw her humiliated face again.
I guess the gist of this post is how basic characteristics remind us of someone we know. A white label marked as "person". As I started this particular sculpture, I wanted to play with a mustache. But, a 'stache this full and luxurious must come at a price. Hence, the narrow rim of hair. As I stitched in the narrowed eyes, it struck me. I knew this person! He looked exactly like my high school social studies teacher! Just to be certain, I contacted a few high school friends. As I had expected, they agreed that it looked exactly like Mr. Baggett.
I really enjoy putting this piece out for display. Everyone knows someone who looks like this. From a high school teacher, to a beloved uncle, to the man who works at the local supermarket, he strikes a chord in our memory.
Sometimes, it's a pleasure being generic.
Occupation: High School Hedwig
Contents: Remnant and recycled fabrics.