I love hecklers, especially the mean ones. I suppose they remind me of my mother. The only difference is I know I can eventually win the love of the heckler.
Usually, the heckles I get are not mean in nature. They are most likely pieces of advice from a lovely soul with an excruciatingly stressful day-job that warrants them being so drunk their face slacks against their skull like a dilapidated house.
The other night at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I was talking about Rule 34 to a room of 100 people. (The idea that if something exists, there is a fetish and/or porn of it.) when a slack-faced woman in her early fifties shouted, "I am a solicitor that represents people with brain injuries and I'll have you know that there are 134 websites dedicated to helping people with disabilities have sex!" I couldn't be mean to her because the heckle was genuinely useful information. Her very embarrassed daughter was with her and I got her to promise to put her in a shitty old folk's home if her mother didn't shut the fuck up.
The whole incident reminded me of all the people I've met through the years that work with the physically and mentally disabled on a day-to-day basis. All of them are amazing, having a tremendous capacity to care for others. One thing I've noticed about exceptional people is that if a person is extraordinarily kind, understanding, or giving, the door can swing equally the other way. They are just as capable of being equally rude, selfish, mean and unhinged. This can manifest itself in unguarded moments. When they are "blowing off steam" as it were.
Several years ago, I went to Las Vegas with my dad. It really is the closest thing to Tokyo America has. Everywhere you look there are bright lights, smooth sidewalks, hookers and elderly people. We went to see a live band play on Fremont Street. There were maybe about 70 tourists and locals dancing in the streets when one woman who looked to be in her mid-30s wearing a tight red dress started twirling around, pulling her dress down around her waist and not only did her ample breasts popped out, they suffered from severe whiplash. She seemed to think she was in New Orleans collecting beads that didn't exist. She twirled towards me and I did my best to stay out of her way. She looked right into my eyes as I tried to not stare at her bruised breasts. She clocked the look on my face as judgement, touched my shoulder, squeezed it and said in the most earnest voice possible, "You have no idea what kind of stress I'm under. I work with children who have Down Syndrome!"
I’m Spring Day (real name, hippie parents)
Moving back to the United States after having lived in Japan and traveling the world for 16 years has been a bit of a head fuck, especially since I now work in the U.K. My blog “The United States of Shock!” is where I give my brilliant and bitter two cents, pence, yen and euro on my experience with culture shock and current events. If you have any questions you would like to have answered in a snit, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org