We were in Ireland, walking on a wooded path overgrown with pink rhododendrons. It would have been breathtakingly beautiful except that they were an unwanted, invasive species. That knowledge tainted what I was seeing.
The woman I was walking with had been telling me about the death of her daughter on Christmas Eve many years before. It was an incredibly sad story, and I felt terrible for her.
At a loss for what to say, I commented that I was surprised that had occurred so long ago as I would have guessed she was much younger.
“Oh, that’s because of my face cream. It is made from the foreskins of babies.”
Yes, such a thing does exist. Kinda.
As it turns out, apart from the tragedy she had experienced, she was a thoroughly awful person. I disliked her immensely, though I felt obligated to extend certain civilities to her.
For the rest of the trip, however, whenever I saw her face I imagined bloody bits of foreskin smeared all over it. Having conversations with her were pretty darn difficult without the gore creeping into my head.
See, I know what circumcised baby foreskin looks like.
I just never thought of it as a beauty product.
Now, some people have some very visceral feelings about circumcision and foreskin. I am not here to debate that at all. In point of fact, the face cream in question does not have ground up foreskin. It has extracted hormones from cell cultures that have been growing from a single foreskin for decades now. Still creeps me out.
See, I also know what human cell cultures look like.
My point in all of this, however, is how certain knowledge taints our image of things that would be perfectly fine otherwise.
Food, for instance.
Quail eggs specifically.
Quail eggs if you have never seen them are rather small and cream colored with brown speckles. It probably takes 4 to equal a chicken egg. The membranes are quite a bit tougher, too. Scrambled they look identical. They smell the same. The taste? Close enough that I would have a difficult time telling them apart in a taste test. Psychologically, however, they are worlds apart and I cannot eat them if I *know* they are on my plate. The knowledge is what kills them.
Which brings me back around to people.
I want to “love” everyone. I do. Yet there are some people that I have a terribly difficult time with based on a past experience with them or someone close to them. Respect is all I can muster and even that takes great effort.
It probably isn’t fair but it is human nature to distance ones self from what has hurt you in the past. Everything that one of these people does is met with suspicion, no matter what it is. You know what I am talking about… that person who spends Christmas feeding the poor but you try to guess their ulterior motive because you sure as hell know the act was not based on anything altruistic.
You may be waiting for me to say that I am going to work harder this year to avoid making snap judgements, that I will give quail eggs another try, that I will stop imagining bits of foreskin smeared on people’s faces. BUT, that was not my goal here. Nope. I just wanted justify talking about foreskin!