So, I’m like, really, really fucked with work now. I don’t know how this happens, but it’s the truth. In any case, what am I going to do to help myself out? Write on this stupid fucking blog.
If you knew me intimately, which you probably don’t at all, you’d know that my greatest fears are as follows:
1. Serial Killers
3. People who shit in their pants on the subway
4. Getting fat
I’m just kidding about the fourth one, but also, you know I’m really not.
Given this information, you can only imagine how I feel about Rudy Eugene, the man who ate the vagrant Ronald Poppo’s face in Miami this past weekend.
Along with fear usually comes acute fascination—and self identification. I’ve spent a lot of time this week reading about Rudy Eugene, talking about Rudy Eugene, trying to psychologically understand Rudy Eugene, and gathering up the courage to look at the photographs of what Rudy Eugene did to Ronald Poppo’s face.
Because as soon as I knew that the pictures were out there yesterday morning, I began thinking about them obsessively. “Have you looked at the man with his face eaten?” I asked basically everyone on my Gchat list. Or at least like 3 people.
"What are you talking about?" they responded.
"Clearly you are not staying up on the tabloids today," I would tell them. Because the NY Times does not give a shit about Ronald Poppo’s face.
Then, they’d Google the pictures, and report back to me.
"They’re not that bad," one person said. "You can’t even see anything."
"I had to turn the video off after 1 minute," another reported back.
"Oh my god, I’m too scared to look!" I said as I inched my way down the latest article on the Daily Mail, both thrilled and terrified at the possibility of encountering them by accident.
By 10pm, I still hadn’t seen a single graphic photograph. I hadn’t stopped talking about them either.
"Do you think it hurt?" I asked a group of friends at the Gowanus Yacht Club.
Then Caleb leaned across the table, and bit me on the forehead.
"Ow!" I screamed. Because it really did hurt. And then: "I hear Rudy bit through to the bone on Ronald’s forehead."
"I need to go home," one girl said.
A few minutes later, and all that was left was me, Mr. R, and Caleb. We paid our bill, and wandered down the street to the Wing Bar, where I ordered my customary mozzarella sticks and club soda. I eat that at least three times a week for dinner.
Caleb and Mr. R ordered fried pickles and hot wings. As soon as I was done with my mozzarella sticks—and it was very soon—I began digging into their meal.
Something about eating the chicken wings didn’t feel right, however.
After I made my way through the crispy skin of my first wing, I held it up to my face. There, clinging to tiny bones, were shredded pieces of flesh, ripe with veins. I saw the fragile cartilage. I saw my teeth marks. I saw Ronald Poppo’s face.
"Oh my god!" I screamed, and then ran into the bathroom.
I still haven’t looked at the images, and I probably won’t. Last night, I had feverish nightmares about homeless people eating off my leg, without any reference points for what that might look like. My brain doesn’t need any more information to feed its sick fantasies.
But more than anything, I don’t think the photographs should be out there. This poor man, Ronald Poppo, even if he was high on bath salts (and I hope to God he was), deserves at least to make some money selling them to the tabloids. If he survives, I assume he’ll have to get a face transplant. Which I hear is very expensive. If you chat me up, I’ll tell you more about them. It’s one of my top 10 favorite things to Google search.
Also, whatever happened to living your shame in privacy? Not only does Ronald Poppo have Spaghetti-O’s for a face, he also has to deal with the fact that there are pictures of him lying naked on a freeway, with another man. With the fact that the wide world now knows that he was a smart kid, a guidance counsellor at Stuyvesant, who fell from grace. Who lost his mind. Who ended up alone, with a cannibal, one sunny morning in Miami, for 18 minutes of unimaginable horror.
The one thing that comforts me—this doesn’t comfort me—is that I hear that Rudy got Ronald’s eyes. (Did you just throw up? I gagged.) So at the very least, when Ronald Poppo wakes up, he won’t be able to see what we all have been looking at on the Internet, from the very safe distance of our own homes. Here, I’m getting images not only of Ronald, but also of a meth head who ripped out his own intestines in New Jersey on Tuesday, and started throwing them at the police.
The lesson to be learned? Don’t do drugs…or leave your house. Ever again.