I followed another one of those roads that lead back to my desk. I was quite busy sitting there, procrastinating and dodging phone calls, but somehow I still found the strength to contemplate life. I stumbled across a question that has been haunting me for some time, "Whatever happened to good movies?" I notice the ticket prices going up and the movies getting worse; the product does not warrant the price increase. I mean, I don't mind.... knock, knock, knock.

Who in hell's half acre could be knocking at my door? The nerve of someone to show up and interrupt such a streak of procrastination. The real nerve lies in the fact that they didn't even bother to call first. Then again... I'm not answering my phone, so perhaps... knock, knock, knock. "I'm coming, I'm coming."

I rose from my chair after trying to say my line, "I'm coming, I'm coming," like I was a bit perturbed, and I was busy. I wonder if it worked. I got to the door, opened it and there stood a woman, elegantly wrapped in a black dress, not a hair or anything else out of place, eyes of an angel. You need only picture a young Grace Kelly with short black hair, like satin, and that is this woman.

She then spoke to me, extending her hand to shake mine, "Mr. Griffen, I am Shallow."

I reached out and shook her hand, "Well then you have certainly come to the right place ma'am. Please come in, sit down." She walked in and before I had the door shut, she was seated in the chair in front of my desk.

With her back to me she spoke, "Well some people say Shallowness."

As I rounded the corner to sit behind my desk, I said, "Well allow me to tell you right up front, Ness, it matters not if you're shallow or you're not. It doesn't bother me either way. If I may ask, Ness, do you work in the building here? If this is about the music I play in here sometimes, I apologize. I do it after hours when I think no one is around. Anyway, yes, I am Roman Griffen. What can I do for you?"

"And as I said, Mr. Griffen, I am Shallowness."

"I'll be honest with you, I thought you meant that you were...you know what, just forget it. It is a pleasure to meet you."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"It is nice meeting you as well, Mr. Griffen. I've heard so much about you."

"All good, I hope."

"Ummm, well...."

"You know what? Do me a favor, and don't tell me. I truly don't want to know."

"That is up to you. Now, I have come here today to ask you to defend me."

"I see, defend you."

"Yes, and do you?"

"Do I what?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Do you see why I need to be defended?"

"Well not at this moment, but I can certainly look into it for you."

"I trust you'll give my case its fair share of attention?"

"You have my word on it, Miss Shallow."

"Thank you, Mr. Griffen. I'll see myself out." She stood up quickly but in control, pivoted on her right foot, like one of those soldiers that guard the tomb of the unknown solider, and walked out. Just like that, the black-haired Grace Kelly was gone. I now have some work to do, no more life contemplation, but I'll admit that movie thing still bothers me.

I thought that this was a unique case and presented some interesting circumstances. I believe that in order to capture the real essence of this case I needed to talk to people about Shallowness, speak with her accusers and then find a direction to take the case. Going to the library and poring over books wasn't going to cut it this time. I needed to hit the road, talk to real live people. I had some ideas on where to find a few.

I found these people in the bookstores, the pubs, the bars, and various other places. Honestly, I really didn't look in the bookstore too much. I picked the people's brains about what shallowness is and what their thoughts were on it. I found what I was looking for, and then some.

A certain scenario regarding shallowness repeatedly presented itself. I knew after the fourth or fifth instance that it was the key. The only thing I had to do was convince the players in this scenario to testify in court, and I was in. Easier said than done, I thought. Then it dawned on me that it couldn't be too daunting of a task to convince some folks to appear in court when you're in a bar at 1:30 a.m. on a Friday night. The spirits have had a chance to crush inhibitions for hours now, and, as I found out, they certainly loosened lips. I did the convincing I needed; I got what I wanted, and I was set. To the courthouse please!

"Ladies and gentlemen of the court, I stand before you today in defense of my client, Shallow. I will be calling witnesses that comprise one of the most common scenarios in which a cloud of guilt is cast over my client. Through their testimonies, I will you show you that Shallowness is not guilty in this case, as well as in many others, and I myself will raise the question, 'Does Shallowness even exist?'

"I know that you are all are thinking that you know at least one person who you consider to be shallow, for one reason or another. According to society's definition of shallowness, I don't blame you. I am here today to clear up the ambiguities regarding my client, to clear the name of Shallowness and attempt to redefine Shallowness, not for me, but for you. I only ask for your attention in these proceedings and that you use what you hear and learn here today to define Shallowness for yourself and in turn make the proper judgement of its guilt.

"I will be presenting you with a very common scenario involving Shallowness. In this scenario, you will hear things about people's types, their likes, and their dislikes. From what you learn while you listen to these testimonies, it will be quite clear, after all is said and done, Shallowness is far from guilty.

"I would like to call Ms. Cari Bloyth to the stand.... How are you today, Ms. Bloyth?"

"Fine, thank you."

"Good. Ms. Bloyth, does the name Wil Knossek mean anything to you?"

"Well, yes. Wil is a friend of mine."

"A friend of yours or more of an acquaintance?"

"No, a friend."

"Is it true that you have recently referred to Wil as a 'shallow pig' due to a certain incident regarding your friend Deborah Dasuldentt?"

"Well, since you put it that way, yes, I did. I didn't mean he was shallow all the time, but I think in that case he most certainly was being shallow about the whole Deb thing."

"This 'Deb thing' that you speak of, would I be correct if I said that it was your friend Deborah being interested in Mr. Knossek in a romantic manner and him just wanting to be her friend?"

"Yes, and no."

"Please explain then, Ms. Bloyth."

"Well, they are friends. They enjoy talking when they see each other out. They have a good time. It seems, they enjoy each other..."

"Let me interrupt for just a moment. Do they talk to each other exclusively, or is it part of an exchange between he and his friends and you and yours?"

"Well, no, not exclusively. More like what you said, his friends, my friends kind of thing."

"Very well, continue please."

"Deb thinks Wil's cute and a nice guy, so she asked me to ask him if he would be interested in taking her out."

"Why couldn't she ask him herself?"

"Well, I know Wil better than she does, and she was kind of nervous about it."

"Ok, so when you asked Wil about the possibility of taking Deborah out, he said?"

"He said that she is not really his type."

"And you called him a 'shallow pig' for that?"

"No. When I asked him how wasn't she his type, he hemmed and hawed for a bit and finally just said, 'She's a nice girl, cool to talk to' but I could never date her. I kind of go for girls with nicer figures.' That is when I called him shallow."

"Not just shallow, Ms. Bloyth, but a shallow pig correct? He then became a member of the family Suidae, and a shallow member at that. What was the reasoning behind calling him a shallow pig?"

"Because he pretty much just came out and said that he's not going to date her because of her figure. How much more shallow can you get? He enjoys talking to her, they have fun, but he won't go out with her because she's a few pounds overweight, because of her looks. Puh-lease. Need I say more about how he is shallow?"

"The truth is, Ms. Bloyth, he never did say that she was a few pounds overweight. You did. And he never mentioned her looks but simply her figure. Just out of curiosity, how is he a pig?"

"Oh my God! The whole, 'I like girls with a nicer figure' thing. Guys have one track minds; that's all they think of. You know what he meant!"

"No, Ms. Bloyth. I don't."

"Ok, whatever."

"It's your opinion, however, that Deborah is somewhat overweight, correct?"

"That's not the point. The point is that he judged her by her loo.."

"Answer the question, Ms. Bloyth. In your opinion is your friend Deborah Dasuldentt a few pounds overweight?"

"I guess she could stand to lose a few pounds."

"So, you're saying that she is then?"

"Listen, she is my frie.."

"Is she or isn't she? Yes or no?"

"Yes, ok, yes she is a few pounds overweight, jeez."

"Ms. Bloyth, would you say that you're attracted to a certain type of guy?

"No, not really."

"According to many of your friends, you are attracted to guys that are taller, taller than you, at least, and guys with a more athletic build, muscular. Is that true, Ms. Bloyth?"

"Well, yes, but that isn't a type. It's just what I like. I'm five feet nine, and besides, they're not the only things I like."

"I understand that, but would it be safe to say that a taller, athletically built man would take precedence over a shorter, thinner man when it comes to you dating a guy?"

"Sure."

"Would you consider yourself to be a shallow person, Ms. Bloyth?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Because I can appreciate someone for their inner beauty as well as their outer. Their inner beauty is what makes them beautiful to me, not just looks and bodies."

"You would be willing to appreciate a man's inner beauty as long as he was tall and athletically built though, right?"

"Yes...no...what are you asking? What do you mean?"

"No need to answer that question, Ms. Bloyth. You may step down."

"No, I want to answer."

"There is no need to. You may step down."

"Whatever."

"I would like to call Wil Knossek to the stand. How are you, Wil? May I call you Wil?"

"Yes, sure."

"Wil, Cari Bloyth was just here on the stand and she testified that you were not interested in dating her friend Deborah because you said, quote, 'I like girls with a nicer figure.' Did you say that?"

"Yes, I did."

"What did you mean by that?"

"Well, that I umm...that I..."

"That you are attracted to women who are more slender than Deborah?"

"Yes, simply put. Yes. I tried to put it the nicest way I could and didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. It just came out wrong, I guess."

"Do you consider yourself to be a shallow person, Wil?"

"No." He said laughing, "But there is now a group of girls who is sure I am."

Laughing, I replied, "I bet there is Wil. Wil are you friends with Cari Bloyth?"

"I guess so. I see her around. I talk to her; she talks to me."

"Perhaps it would be better to describe her as more of an acquaintance?"

"Yes, that would be a better way to describe it."

"Is it true that you initially met Deborah through Cari?"

"Yes."

"Is it true that you were initially interested in Cari?"

"Yes."

"Did you ever ask Cari out on a date?"

"Yes, yes. Even though everyone said I wasn't her type. I had a few twelve ounce bottles of courage and asked her out."

"What did she say?"

"She said, no."

"Were you surprised?"

"No, not at all. Like I said, she's more into the taller, jock kind of guy. As you can tell, that's not me, but...I never hurts to ask."

"Would you consider Cari Bloyth to be a shallow person?"

"No, why should I?"

"Simply because she would not go out with you because of your body."

"No, not at all. She knows what she likes. I was foolish for asking her out."

"Let me ask you again, do you think you're a shallow person because you are attracted to slender women?"

"No."

"You speak to Deborah Dasuldentt when you see her out, you converse with her, laugh with her, and have a good time. Would you recognize those things as her inner beauty?"

"Sure, she has a great personality. She's a funny girl."

"So, you're attracted to her inner beauty but as for her outer, such is not the case."

"Yes, that is the case."

"Thank you, Wil. You may step down."

"There, ladies and gentlemen of the court, was the scenario I spoke of in my opening statements. That was the most common case of what people think shallowness is. The question I pose to you now, 'Was shallowness to blame?' My answer to that question is a resounding, 'No.'

"As individuals, we have something bestowed upon us known as free will. This free will gives us the right to choose. In the democracy that we live in, we have the right to vote. This is nothing more than the right to choose. Some of us vote Republican, some of us Democrat, and others a third party. The point is, we never look at those who voted for 'the other guy' and think, 'My goodness how shallow of them.'

"We as human beings have the right to choose not just a president, but what we like and dislike as well. We may choose chocolate or vanilla, shaken or stirred, scrambled or sunny-side up. Regardless of the situation, it is not shallow to make a choice. More importantly, it's not shallow to know what one likes either, is it?

"Wil Knossek knows what kind of women he is interested in dating. He also knows that Deborah Dasuldentt is not that type of woman and, therefore, does not date her. Is Wil shallow because he made a choice? No, not at all. Is he guilty of knowing what he likes? Yes...very much so.

"Cari Bloyth, who accused Wil of being a 'shallow pig,' did not date Wil because he wasn't her type. He wasn't tall and athletically built. The last time I checked, being tall and athletic were physical attributes, just like being a slender woman is. Cari however is not viewed as being shallow for liking manly men, but Wil is for liking slender women.

"What we have stumbled across here is a double standard. It seems perfectly fine for a woman to state her attraction to a male body but not vice versa. Why is that? Surely when women say they would rather date a guy that is tall and built they are referring to him in non-sexual manner. Everyone knows that tall, built guys are excellent choices to start book clubs with, sort holy cards with, and are masters of meaningful conversation. Women can have their type, but woe betide the man who likes a woman who has a nice figure. The swine only wants sex

"The bottom line is that we all pretty much seek someone that we are attracted to mentally and physically. Wil was attracted to Deborah mentally but not physically, so he didn't date her. He didn't date her and was burned at 'the stake of shallowness.' He was burned because he refused to settle, like so many before him have.

"Another double standard arises when we look at the attraction of physical and mental. It is shallow to discount someone due to physical shortcomings but totally fine to discount someone for mental ones. We are totally expected to tolerate someone coming up short of our ideal type physically; it is even considered a noble thing. But when there is no 'chemistry,' when things don't click on the mental level, when our 'inner beauty' doesn't match, it's cool to just walk away. Friends will say, 'Well who could blame you, if there is no chemistry, there is no chemistry.' Who can blame someone who wants their mate to pass both chemistry and anatomy?

"It all boils down to a numbers game. We seek to go two for two, be attracted both mentally and physically. I don't agree in settling either way, and I don't agree it's not shallow to choose or like a certain type either way. Let those who have settled pacify themselves and think they're noble for doing so, but don't let them try to talk you into doing the same by conjuring up tales about being shallow. Keep in mind folks, misery loves company.

"In closing, there is no such thing as shallowness, only likes and dislikes, personal choice. Yes, it is true that beauty fades, but we'd be foolish to think that hearts and minds don't as well. We don't need to be told what we should like or what choices to make, nor do we need to be called shallow for making one. If those around you cannot respect your choice, then find others who do. You do not need to be disparaged for knowing what you like and exercising your free will.

"You are the one who will have to answer to your maker someday about the choices you made. If there is a problem with the way you exercised your free will, made your choices, and grew to know what you liked, maybe it's your maker's fault for giving you free will in the first place, knowing it would ultimately be held against you.

The defense rests.

 

Quote

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

— Frank Outlaw

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Last updated 28-Jul-08