'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
DANKE SCHOEN FOR THE ADVICE, WAYNE
Show business legend Wayne Newton appeared here in Torrington Friday night at the historic Warner Theatre. I did not attend the concert because—nothing personal against Mr. Newton—I just don’t find his type of music very entertaining. When I saw in the newspaper that he was going to perform here, my first thought was, “You couldn’t pay me enough to sit through that show.” Which, of course, was a very stupid thought, because you certainly could pay me enough to sit through that show. I’m thinking around $4,000.
Anyway, while I was walking down Main St. last week, I saw a huge poster promoting the concert with a huge, larger-than-life photograph of Wayne Newton. My first thought was, “How can a wax statue sing songs?” (I’ve been having a lot of first thoughts lately.) Then I looked a little closer and realized that it was a genuine photo of Mr. Newton, but unfortunately multiple plastic surgeries have caused his face to look not quite real anymore. He reminded me of the young Kris Kringle puppet character, voiced by Mickey Rooney, in the classic Christmas TV special, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Now, I’m not saying Mr. Newton is in the Michael Jackson category, where multiple plastic surgeries have caused his appearance to be not quite human anymore. (I’m trying to be kind. You could make the case that Michael’s appearance is not quite like any species native to the planet Earth anymore.) Wayne is more in the Joan Rivers and Burt Reynolds category, where multiple plastic surgeries make them look, well, silly and sad.
I mean, really, do these people honestly think they look better this way? Wayne Newton’s claim to fame is his singing talent, not his face. Joan Rivers’ claim to fame is her comedic talent, not her face (certainly not her face, either pre- or post-surgeries). And Burt Reynolds’ claim to fame is…um, well, I never could figure out exactly what his talent is, but I don’t think it’s his face.
It’s really too bad these people feel compelled to spend a ton of money subjecting themselves to what must be tedious and painful procedures. When they finally heal from the surgery, what is the net result? Do they look younger and more vibrant and more beautiful? No, they just look silly and sad.
Not all show biz folks are convinced it’s better to look weird and unnatural than to look their true age. Take Tony Bennett, for example. He looks every bit age 78, but so what? He’s still a terrific singer, he sells out his shows, and people adore him.
Or take Mick Jagger. So what if the lines and creases on his face are so deep he can use them to carry his car keys and wallet? He hasn’t succumbed to the temptation to make his face look silly and sad. Now, of course, when Mick dons those tight stretch pants and prances around on the stage, the words “silly” and “sad” don’t even begin to describe the scene.
So it’s quite obvious: plastic surgery is nothing more than a pathetic cry for help. Or at least I thought so until yesterday when a woman approached me in the checkout line at a store. “Are you the guy who writes that column in the paper on Saturdays?” she asked.
“Umm…yes I am,” I replied cautiously, wondering which recent column offended her.
She looked at me for a moment and said, “Boy, you’re a lot older than your photo in the paper.”
Shortly afterward, safely locked in my bathroom, I looked in the mirror and my first thought was (again with the first thoughts), “I guess a little plastic surgery isn’t so bad. Maybe a doctor could smooth out the bags under my eyes. Or maybe do something with these jowls. Or maybe some hair plugs for that receding hairline. Or maybe,” I thought, “I can contact show business legend Wayne Newton for some professional advice.”
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