Occasionally, I’ll write posts that don’t fit into the structure of the weekly challenges – think of them as the DVD extras of BE A MAN. You’ll find a list of them archived here.
Street performers have it rough. If Once taught me anything, a street performer’s life is filled with constant thievery of the day’s take, vacuum repair, and unrequited Czech love. Human statues must have it the worst. Beyond the logistical nightmare of bathroom breaks, the human statue’s goal is to go unnoticed, to be so believable as to be background scenery. The apex for a singer-songwriter on the streets? Get noticed by an A&R man and receive that million-dollar record deal. For a human statue? A pigeon lands on you and maybe poops on your head.
That’s why this video is so stunning. First of all, this human statue has amassed a following. Okay, the jig may be up in terms of inanimate object mimicry, but people are intrigued and our Man of the Month is capitalizing on it. Maybe a little pop and lock, perhaps a kick ass handshake with a little dude – whatever it takes to keep the masses happy, our Man will make it happen. Until the inevitable and most dreadful occurs – the appearance of the Unwanted Audience Participant.
This broomhead is the kind of guy who, as a kid, required his own present at his cousin’s birthday party. The UAP’s real motivation comes from a jealousy at not being the center of attention at all times, a deep envy for anyone who has worked to achieve greatness. A closer inspection will show that the marks that run up and down the UAP’s arms are not tattoos at all, but actually failed attempts at painting himself a solid color. For all we know, he may in fact be another frustrated human statue with something to prove, but as our Man helpfully points out, now is not his time. When you Wet Willy a real Man, you’ve broken that final load-bearing wall that unleashes a top floor toilet of mayhem. Wrong move.
But the best part about this video? It cuts off right before we see the aftermath. Just like another YouTube big hitter, Lady Punch, the viewer is left with not a hint of an epilogue to decipher what befalls our hero after the climax. I like to think that while the UAP got his wits back and prepared for retaliation, our Man solidified himself into the best human statue the world has ever seen – the street performer’s equivalent of the Karate Kid’s crane kick. In this catatonic state, the UAP totally lost sight of his attacker, seeing only an unassuming cowboy statue in the middle of the plaza. “Where did that punk go?” he may ask himself, before tottering off to tend to his physical and spiritual wounds. The rest of the audience will be similarly affected, wondering how on Earth that heroic street performer vanished into thin air and wishing they could have compensated him for his art and bravery. Only the little handshake dude will look up at the cowboy statue with bright eyes, untainted by the logic and skepticism of adulthood. And maybe he’ll see the slightest of winks find itself in the crease of the cowboy’s eye, which says in unshakable terms, “This, my son, is how a real man takes care of business.”