Don't Look So Surprised

Bomarzo, Italy

I can’t help it, every time I see someone who has had plastic surgery on their face, I think about a Stephen King book I read as a kid. There was a family that was so distraught about the death of their cat, that the dad took a risk and buried it in a spooky, magical, cemetery. He had been warned that while doing this would bring the family cat back to life, it would not come back the same. It would come back all scary and f*cked up; and yet he did it anyway.

A very spooky place outside of Viterbo, Italy.
A very spooky place outside of Viterbo, Italy.

I do not blame him for this, he had to see for himself what would happen. Nor do I blame all the early adopters of plastic surgery, those brave pioneers who took one for the team, in order to show us all what we now know: Plastic surgery is evil and terrifying.

And just like the cat, you don’t come back the same. You come back looking scary and f*cked up. Good thing both the grieving man in Pet Sematary, as well as the aging population of the world, were able to learn their lesson from that first round of experiments, and never mess with either of those upsetting things ever again. The End.

Uh oh, but that’s not what happened, was it? Even after seeing how terrifying the cat was when the cemetery brought it back to life, he still buried his son there, and then eventually his wife, knowing full well how scary the outcome would likely be. The book is a very poignant look at the grieving process, as well as self-delusion.

Similarly, with plastic surgery, I’d say that as a society we are all pretty aware by now that the procedure rarely works out well, for anyone. If celebrities with unlimited funds and access to the best doctors still can’t get it right, and routinely end up looking like monsters, what chance do the rest of us have?

Even though we all know that the science simply isn’t there yet to support it, and that facial plastic surgery almost never ends well for anyone, all the people who insist on getting the procedures anyways seem to always look very, very, surprised by the outcome.

If I hear that someone is considering plastic surgery, I always have the exact same question: Can you show me one person that you think looks better than they did before? Point to them. Because I can easily think of hundreds just off the top of my head, who do not.

Why would you be the one person in a million that it worked out well for? What are the chances? And are you really willing to take that risk? To me, this is self-delusion at its most insidious. And then, after you make that fateful decision, you must wear that delusion, that desperate insecurity which ultimately led to the facsimile of a human face, every day in public for the rest of your life.

Leaving the Pet Sematarty parallel behind, on a lighter note I’m also reminded of an Arrested Development episode. Tobias is talking to his sexually frustrated wife Lindsey about how he’d mistakenly advised some of his therapy patients to explore “open relationships.”

Lindsey: Well, did it work for those people?

Tobias: No, it never does. I mean, these people somehow delude themselves into thinking it might but…

(Tobias pauses, thinks)

But it might work for US!


Do you love terrifying cats? Go HERE to learn about the cats that followed and haunted me throughout all of Egypt.