Last time, I wrote about heavy shit. This time, I’m gonna use heavy shit as a way to laugh and conquer personal issues.
A few months ago I watched roughly 60% of the infamous “Pitch Perfect”, for the second time, before I fell asleep, again. I really tried to watch it (twice), but I just got straight up bored, even in the face of the smokin’ hot Anna Kendrick. However, there were a couple of shining moments, and in particular, the introduction of the stand-out character Fat Amy.
If you know the movie, you know Fat Amy is the shit. If you don’t, watch this short clip here of her first scene. Trust me, it’s necessary for this writing:
The key moment here happens between 0:39 and 0:52, when Fat Amy introduces herself as Fat Amy:
“What’s your name?”
“You call yourself ‘Fat Amy’?”
“Yeah, so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back.”
Although I imagine the writers used this as a slapstick gag (the same way Chris Farley’s weight was a crucial tool in his antics), I took it as something deeper. Something more powerful and brilliant maybe than originally intended. Not only did I love the bravery of the character (and actress portraying her), but it also got me thinking about the power in self-identifying.
I want to write tonight about an idea I call The Fat Amy technique.
Before we get to it, though, let’s dig deep into our past and unearth some hard memories for a minute. Think about the harshest, most scarring words someone has said to you. And it can’t be just anybody: I want the memories of the times you were bullied. From a real-life bully. Shit that makes you cry, not because of the words someone said, but because someone could be so mean to say them. I know we’ve all been there. Bring ’em up, because we’re gonna exorcise those hauntings.
I’ll share one of mine.
I grew up in El Paso, Texas. It’s a border town through-and-through, with an affluent Mexican influence composing most of its population. In elementary school, I was the “minority” in my classes. In fact, I couldn’t enroll in the school closer to our house because I didn’t speak Spanish. I imagine you can see where this is going. A young, white, monolingual kid in an elementary school full of bilingual, non-white kids.
I was also insanely geeky-looking. Glasses. Chubby. In the dorky, “gifted and talented” classes.
Of course, as the stories go, it was a normal day at the playground. The bully in question: Tony Chacón. A Mexican kid (which sounds insanely racist, doesn’t it? In America, the word “mexican” comes off as a slur. Watch a white person say “mexican”. It’s like they just cursed on the bible.) with fast legs and a knack for picking on young Sammy G. His particular form of torture happened at lunchtime every day. We would eat together, laugh together, and hurry outside to go play football. But before we could get completely out the doors, Tony would steal my lunchbox.
He would steal my lunchbox and run away, turning around ever so-often to laugh. I had one of those lunchboxes with a handle on top and a sandwich carrier underneath. Tony loved unzipping the bottom as he ran away from me, which made the lunchbox’s bottom flap around, almost as if it was laughing too. This happened daily.
But the one day I remember was the worst day. Tony ran away, laughing and giggling, stopping every hundred feet to let me catch up, only to dart away, the lunchbox flapping around behind him. I was laughing too. I was laughing a lot. But it was the laugh that comes right before the tears. Kids do that. They laugh right before they cry. It’s the saddest thing you’ll ever see.
I was laughing and chasing Tony. And then he said one word that has always been hard to hear.
“Hey come get me güero! You can’t get me güero!”
Güero, of course, means “white boy”. It’s a neutral word in theory, but it can easily be twisted into a heart-piercing combination of vowels and consonants. Ain’t that how they all start, though? Gook may have come from the Korean miguk, which natives used to refer to American Soldiers during the occupation. Negro is simply the latin-based word for black. Injun is a mutation of Indian, which, admittedly, was wrong from the start. WOP, Spic…the list goes on.
I was running and laughing, on the verge of tears, and Tony called me white boy, and I laughed some more and ran some more. And suddenly, I let go of it all. I couldn’t hold it in.
I peed myself.
Of course this was the icing to Tony’s cake! He fell over laughing. He couldn’t believe his eyes.
Meanwhile, with my jeans entirely soaked, I put my head down. I put my head down and walked to the nearest wall and just stood there, my front side pressed against the bricks and my head turned around, watching Tony lose his shit on the gravel. I stood there for twenty minutes until the dreaded bell of recess rang and I was forced to face everyone else.
That shit has been with me since second grade.
So here we are. Take yours. I want your hardcore memory, from a vulnerable time and the bully that exploited it. I want that in your head and your heart. I promise this ends well.
For the last few months, I’ve been using The Fat Amy technique, and I just want to tell you all about it.
The Fat Amy technique is simple. It’s so simple. You are the most powerful person in the world when you incorporate Fat Amy into your conscience. Nothing will ever hurt you again. You are invincible in the face of any mother fucker that is trying to take you down. Fat Amy turns güero and nigger and fat ass and slut and pussy into melodies and harmonies in your ears. Fat Amy turns braces into bling and cankles into private parts, visible only to the lucky you let witness.
The Fat Amy technique is this:
Exploit your biggest, most obvious piece of self-consciousness and use it as the glorious trademark of your person.
In other words, you get yourself before they can get you.
“…You call yourself Fat Amy?”
slyly, chuckling: “Yeah, so twig bitches like you don’t do it behind my back.”
That shit gives me chills.
Take that memory I told you to summon. Take it and run through it in your head. Think about the weapon that mother fucker used against you. Think about the words they said. Think about what they said about your body. About your intelligence. About your relationship. About your parents. About your glasses. About your weight. About your skin color. About your gender. About your sexuality.
Take that shit and fucking yelling it.
You own that. That is yours. That is not theirs.
They do not get to say shit about you before you say anything about yourself.
That is Fat Amy. Fat Amy is not Amy. Fat Amy is FAT.
Sammy G is the white boy. G is for GÜERO. Oh man, and it feels so damn good to be the white boy!
Johnny F is the faggot. Oh man, but he has the best, most loving boyfriend. And his family; what a support!
Kelly J is the jew. But holy shit, did you go to her bat mitzvah? What a celebration! So many people came!
I’m telling you. This is magic. Fat Amy is magic. Like I said, that shit gives me chills. I’m so in love with this idea. I want to use it for every little piece of myself that mother fuckers can exploit. It’s sad to think I’m ashamed of my interest for gaming. I love gaming. I love it so much. You can’t beat me with nerd, geek, or loser. I possess a fury, a passion, a fire for something and you do not.
You cannot beat me.
You cannot beat Fat Amy.
Because she beat you to it.
I saw this post on one of my favorite websites about a month ago, which is when I started thinking about writing this post. I think it exemplifies the Fat Amy technique so well:
And with that, I will leave you. Be strong, people. Words are venom. Be kind.