Sunday, June 08, 2008

Vain Cain Wasn't Abel

By Emily Stephens

Let me introduce you, before the story starts--
A Gigi is a girly-girl, the kind that never farts.
They love clothes, malls, and a muscley stud,
And squeal when confronted with boogers and mud.
High heels, short skirts, and lotsa thrills--
The kind that gives the good boys chills.
She’ll steal away the boy of your dreams,
With flirtation bursting from her seams.
No brains, all laughs, pouty lips, tight butt.
The kind our grandmums called a slut.
Buried ‘neath mascara, lipstick, powder, polish–
And a waistline rather smallish,
Past the fake-n-bake orange and yellow skin,
You’ll find a girl who’ll always win.
Plain, smart girls simply can’t compare,
To the Gigi’s looks, the Gigi’s hair.

At the age of twenty, I’d still never been kissed,
See a Gigi stole his heart away; he never knew what he had missed.
She bounced in with her boobies, her makeup all aglow,
She shook her head and giggled like there was nothing she did know.
Her lips were rouged with redness.
Her talent? She could flirt.
Man, next to her, I know it’s true; I looked no more than dirt.
And so that’s when I started to hatch a plan so cruel.
I’d sneak into the Gigi lair, and attack right after school.
Underneath the cover of stormy summer nights,
I’d overcome the Gigi Queen and proclaim Normal Girl rights!
If I could find her weakness, I’d get her where it hurt…
A Gigi hates mud, slime, and yes, they really do hate dirt.
Perhaps a chemical reaction could destroy her makeup glow?
I know, yes, of course! I’d attack with H-2-O!

I ran quickly to my closet, and pulled from the depths therein
A water gun from Target, neon orange with hot-blue trim.
I filled it up with water, nice and cold at first,
Then realized red food coloring might end my vengeful thirst.
Gun ready, I looked into the mirror and gasped in the light,
I’m too obvious, too Caucasian, too gosh darn freakin’ white!
Black shoe polish was all I owned, therefore it had to do.
I covered my arms, my legs, my face, my neck was dark black, too.
Grabbing my gun, I ran into the night,
Yelling and howling and filled with delight.
Revenge would be mine, and the Gigi would wish
She’d skipped over my village, stayed away from my dish.
Chadwick Schmet was his name and gone was his heart,
But that Gigi would pay, that Gigi would smart!

High-pitched giggles echoed through the air,
And I knew I’d arrived at the Great Gigi’s lair.
Quickly, I hid in a green prickly bush,
While watching for Gigi, I pulled thorns from my tush.
At the smell of perfume, I gasped in delight.
The Queen Gigi was there, and still giggling--how trite.
Chadwick was nearby, consumed by her chest,
A massive upheaval of what boys like best.
Her body looked twisted, bent out in contortion--
It’s not normal to grow boobs in such a proportion!
Poised and ready I sat, growing more and more mad,
Then I burst from the bushes screaming, “EEE-GAD!”
The Gigi spun round, terrified by my cry,
As my gun exploded water right into her eye.
I barked like Xena, did a She-Woman dance,
Then squirted some more so it looked like peed-pants.
Swooping away as quickly as in,
I left her in tears and knew I did win!
She strutted around with what beauty was left,
The boys laughed as she cried, her ego bereft.
Yes, Queen Gigi did most certainly regret,
Entering my village to steal Chadwick Schmet.

Thunder cracked above as I fled from the scene–
“Oh my gaa!’ was her wail, “Am I, like, totally bleeding?”
I laughed to myself as I escaped into night,
My clever plan had filled the Gigi with fright.
Storm clouds above gave way to rain,
And I danced in the droplets like a girl gone insane.
Looking down at my arms, I ended my scoff,
Rain dropped on my skin, beaded up, then ran off.
Tiny streams made their way from my foot to my head,
I only meant to camouflage, but was water-proofed instead.
Shoe polish clogged my pores, covering skin with its grit.
Heavens to Betsy, I was such an idiot!
I ran home rather quickly—to the bath, jumped right in.
Scratching and scraping black from my skin.
I tore at my stained flesh all through the night
And when the sun rose, I looked down in fright.
Despite all the paint that I left in the tub,
My skin stayed black through the scratch, scritch, and scrub.
It took weeks--the natural sluffing of skin cell--
To remove the horrid curse. Goodness gracious, it was hell.

Believe it or not, this is a true story. Overlooking all my dramatic license, the psychology and neurology of revenge is a fascinating topic. In fact, according to
Dr. Michael McCullough, a psychologist at the University of Miami, ''The best way to understand revenge is not as some disease or moral failing or crime, but as a deeply human and sometimes very functional behavior. Revenge can be a very good deterrent to bad behavior, and bring feelings of completeness and fulfillment. Think of the urge as kind of hunger, a lust, a deficit the brain is seeking to fill, and you can see why revenge fantasies can be so delicious.''

Dr. Eddit Harmon-Jones, a neuroscientist from the University of Wisconsin used brain-wave technology to monitor where anger and vengeance originates within the brain. Quite surprisingly, insulted people showed bursts of activity in the left prefrontal cortex—the same location where hunger and cravings are processed. According to Dr. Harmon-Jones, “[This brain activity] seems to reflect not the sensation of being angry so much as the preparation to express it, the readiness to hit back.”

We walk a fine line (consciously and subconsciously) to control our impulses after being wronged. Research shows vengeance is most often sought in a covert manner. Several
forgiveness studies found that when men were asked to recall offenses committed against them they were less vengeful toward the offenders. Women, on the other hand, began at a lower baseline for vengeance, were equally unforgiving as men, but magnified the offenses they received. Apparently, “hell [really] hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

Spreading rumors, stealing boyfriends, dagger-like stares—it’s all very familiar, admit it. However, few of us want to appear malicious. The ideal is to ruin our enemy without repercussions, without anyone able to link us to the crime. Interestingly, men gain more
satisfaction when witnessing retribution than women. The University College London monitored the brain activity of both sexes as they watched people they liked and disliked suffering pain. Women tended to empathize even with those they hated, while men enjoyed the suffering of foes.

Many anthropologists believe retaliation keeps individuals in line where formal laws or rules do not exist. Retaliation can be a sort of cultural mediator that keeps us from breaking tacit taboos. Whether or not vengeance is acceptable, there are ways to assuage intense feelings of retaliation. For example, protesting injustice can be an empowering process.
Dr. Harmon-Jones studied brain-wave patterns in students who were told tuition had increased dramatically. “They all got angry,” he said, “but signing a petition to block the increases seemed to give many some satisfaction.”

So, next time…

I learned from this lesson, though it took many months
For the polish and shame to leave the skin of this dunce,
Tho’ a little bit’o’water might cause a Gigi dismay,
Sweet revenge ain’t so sweet when karma gets in the way.
Perhaps retaliation isn’t what it’s cracked up to be;
Next time I’ll consider some old-fashioned charity.

Or maybe I’ll start a petition…

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