The brief respite from Q & A columns seems to have been a good thing as this time I got lots of fun questions. Hopefully you enjoy reading them with my responses as much I liked getting them.
If you were to run for president what would your policies be?
My policies would be enough to make sure I never got elected, or at least ensure my assassination. Rather than address the myriad of issues a presidential candidate must formulate policy on, I will simply put forth one I think is most important to our future and also the one least likely to happen (which is unfortunate since I consider it absolutely necessary):
The abolishment of the legal status of corporations as individuals and/or entities in terms of liability or action. I would demand that all businesses ‘have face(s) put to them’ such that there was direct and obvious culpability for any and all operations.
What wouldn’t you do for a truckload of cash? Meaning, is there a moral you won’t break for any amount of money???
I once turned down over $10,000 to eat a football as part of the superbowl halftime show. This was the same one that featured the infamous Janet Jackson nipple. Since no one else did it either I guess they dropped the bit or just couldn’t find anyone — frankly the former seems much more likely. It wasn’t so much a moral decision as it just wasn’t my thing. I’m sure I could do it but I didn’t want to. I don’t have a lot of moral objections but I am very obstinate about only doing what I want or absolutely have to do.
Is there a trick in your act that you’re afraid to do sometimes?
Not on a regular basis but there are times when due to random circumstances I get a little nervous – not so much for my safety but more because I think it’s not going to go right and thus detract from the show. If I have any safety worries I just don’t do it – that’s why I am not in the morgue.
Do you believe the stranglehold corporations have on the youth of today will affect our future?
I don’t believe that corporations do have a stranglehold on the youth. I believe they have an undue amount of access to power and influence, but I also think that their position is fragile and that anyone ‘under their hold’ can break out or be broken out at any time. As for the future, I think we do have to be vigilante and that corporations will play a large role but if it is to be as dark as your question implies is up to us, not them.
I have given this some thought – probably too much thought when weighed against the likelihood of it actually happening. But hope springs eternal, just like my get rich quick schemes…
- $250,000 – Pay off mortgage and remaining student loans, sell current home, purchase lot, and construct “dream home”. Dream home is more a matter of custom design than furnishing and this could all likely be done for much less – any excess would be channeled into #3.
- $500,000 – Create funds and investments for our future. Start up money for various business ventures. I would continue to work (at highly reduced rates) being far more selective about projects and donating much more time.
- $250,000 – Given away to family, friends, and as patronage to the arts and sciences.
What will you do if elements of your transformation backfire? That is, what if your brow implants start to erode the orbit or otherwise damage your face? What if your teeth decay and have to be extracted? It wouldn’t be the first time that modifications believed to be safe went bad.
I have given a lot of thought to this, especially when I started to see some of the first stories on complications with implants. They present the biggest potential worry to me but seem to be doing ok thus far – if they need to come out, they will and it will sadden me since I like them so much. If my teeth decay then I can always get the implants that were part of my original idea but I do prefer having my natural teeth.
I have often said that life is an odds game. I am playing and will continue to play the odds I am comfortable with. If things backfire there is really nothing to do but go on, hopefully a little bit wiser and able to let others know how to better their odds.
What is your backup plan? If the ability to work as a freak totally disappeared and America became highly conservative, what would you do?
The loss of a viable market for work as a freak is one thing. It would mean that I would have to either move or travel regularly to where such a market still existed – and I really think there will always be a market somewhere in the world for what I do. Obviously, I am more than willing to do the traveling and if absolutely necessary I would move.
The loss of the market for reasons of extreme cultural or social backlash represents something else entirely and implies not only a lack of work but also an openly hostile daily existence. In such a situation I am ready and willing to fight (take that as you will) so long as I see a possible victory – but I will not martyr myself or my happiness. If I believe the shit has hit the fan I will not hesitate to extricate myself through any and all means available or necessary.
Does performing ever feel like a chore? Do you have the same dread of going to work that most people have?
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t had some days when I was tired or sore and just wasn’t as into it as usual. However, I know the ‘work dread’ from my previous more typical jobs and I have never felt like that about performing. In fact, it is usually thinking about how cool it is to get to perform for a living that gets me over being tired, sore, and cranky.
Where’s the best place you’ve performed (in terms of money, crowd reaction, or any other factor)?
Money: (tie) German & Japanese Television
Crowd Reaction: (tie) The 2nd Annual Sideshow Gathering / Jagermeister Music Tour
Personal Satisfaction: Coney Island
Would you ever give up your freak career for more financial security? If so, how much money would it take?
It would take the proverbial butt load and even then it would depend on the conditions. Do I have to work a new job? Am I somehow banned from performing? There are other jobs I could see doing, but not many, and if I was amply compensated I suppose I could go without publicly performing but I would still be doing the acts on my own in private – these activities are part of who I am.
Why haven’t I seen any Lizardman action figures in toy stores?
Ask the toy manufacturers. I want it to happen (and yes, I have tried and will continue to).
[Editor’s note: BME actually made Lizardman action figures, but we were never happy with the final product and did not release them publicly… but there are about 50 Lizardman action figures in existence!]
Do you ever hear audience members explaining the “tricks” behind your act to others in the audience, and does it bother you when people don’t believe that what you do is real?
Well, I don’t do tricks so there is very little if anything to explain – in fact, I often explain it as I do it. Explaining my acts would be a lot like explaining tightrope walking i.e. ‘He is just putting one foot in front of the other and not falling.’ Sure, I get the occasional wannabe expert who thinks he can explain the bed of nails or some other act via physics but the fact is that I push the physics (like using sixteen nails or less) to a point where most people can’t or won’t ever want to go. Knowing the science behind pole vaulting doesn’t mean you can go break the record and knowing the science behind fire eating doesn’t mean you will pull it off without getting horribly burned. Such people are basically sorrowful killjoys who don’t know how to enjoy a show — I pity them.
As for people thinking my acts aren’t real, I go through a lot in the show to prove the veracity of what I do. In the end though, if you don’t believe it then that’s your thing – try and enjoy the presentation at least. I have heard incredible theories as to how I do some of the acts because people won’t accept what they see… it amuses me that the simple obvious truth is not acceptable to them.
One guy claimed that the gavage wasn’t real because he claimed all the fluids stayed in the hose – he didn’t deny that it was in my stomach via my nose; instead he claimed that all the fluid in the pump (more than a quarter gallon) stayed in the tube when the handle was depressed and then was sucked back out of just the tubing when the handle was pulled and thus he claimed I wasn’t really pumping my stomach. How crazy is it to think I would stick a tube up my nose and down into my stomach for an illusion? It seems that it is just about as crazy as believing six feet of quarter inch diameter tubing can hold over a quart of liquid volume. Not to mention the extra stuff that comes up with it or when I make blue fluid from the pump mix with yellow fluid I drink and turn green when extracted. The gavage is one of the most obvious ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ acts but still people question it – I can’t let it keep me up at night.
Does it creep you out at all that someone has a tattoo of your face?
Not at all – I think it is incredibly cool. I just hope that down the road they still think it is as cool as I do.
What human quality do you admire the most?
What human quality annoys you the most?
Are there any foreign cultures that influence you?
I have been influenced by a lot of cultures. Outside of my own culture I believe I have drawn a lot from the Assyrians, Chinese, Japanese, Ancient Greeks, Ancient Egyptians, Native Americans, and Polynesians to name but a few. I make it a point to expose myself to as many different worldviews as possible and I have yet to find one that has not given me something positive to add to myself.
What body modification do you plan to get next?
The next actual modification will probably be a tattoo session. However, the next thing that I am considering outside of already ongoing processes would be a navel negation. I have been discussing this with plastic surgeons and it seems likely that I will soon have my navel effectively removed (i.e. smoothed over as if never there).
Is there any modification that you would like to get done but they don’t have the technology for it?
Alligator / crocodile tail graft.
Live For Pain
In a society of today’s culture, how do you feel about the banning or prohibiting body modification? Such as tattoos, body piercing, or surgical modification?
Obviously, I would be opposed to it and I believe it would almost certainly fail and eventually come back to bite those behind it on the ass. Parts of my rights and responsibilities column address this further: