Don’t Look Like Yourself


kurtrussellI visited a chiropractor because my body was falling apart. My body is still falling apart. I don’t expect it to stop falling apart until it has come apart at the molecules.

The first thing the chiropractor said to me was, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Kurt Russell?” No one has ever told me that I look like Kurt Russell. “No,” I said. “No one’s ever told me that.” I tried to make it sound reasonable that someone might think that I look like Kurt Russell, and like I’d been waiting for someone to say it, and he finally had.

But I didn’t find the comparison apt. Here are the two components of Kurt Russell:

1 – He does not have eyes
2 – He is mostly a chin

Like Kurt Russell, I do not have any eyes to speak of, but I’m maybe only twenty percent a chin. Maybe just ten percent.

“People tell me I look like Kurt Russell,” the chiropractor said. And it’s true. You can definitely see why someone would say that about him.

I began to wonder if he’d told me that I look like Kurt Russell so that I would return the favor and tell him that he did too. Or maybe he told me that I looked like Kurt Russell so that I would realize that he did and then say that he did. Then he could write it down in a little book, or make a notch on his adjusting table.

Whenever I happen to cross paths with the chiropractor, he always notices me first, and always mentions that I look like Kurt Russell. “Hey, is that Kurt Russell?” he says. Or “I thought you were great in Tombstone!” Or “How’s Goldie?” I never have the chance to ambush him with the assertion that he looks like Kurt Russell. He always gets me first.

But now, whenever I’m forced to look at myself in the mirror, a situation I take pains to avoid, I find that I look increasingly like Kurt Russell. My eyes have receded even further, which I hadn’t thought possible. But their color has has grown less muddled, more crystalline. Like Kurt Russell, my eyes have become the color of light trapped in ice. And, even though it’s covered by a beard, my chin has annexed an alarming swath of my lower face.

It seems like the chiropractor’s perception of me has begun to overwhelm my own impression of myself. I cannot tell if I feel horror at fulfilling someone else’s vision of who I am, or if the horror is my reaction to the chiropractor prodding me toward freedom. Maybe I’m avoiding the relief of becoming not myself. I should let go and let myself become Kurt Russell. I should relax and let my chin grow and my spine straighten.

After the chiropractor first told me that I looked like Kurt Russell, he adjusted me. He took hold of me and began to put me back together. That’s not actually correct. He didn’t put me back together so much as help me fall apart in a different way. He began to mold me into a new shape, and I began to become something other than myself. I’m still falling apart. I’m still becoming not myself. And it’s an enormous relief. It’s such a relief to find myself in the process of becoming Kurt Russell.

Don’t Look Like Yourself

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