Opening Doors with Kim

Kim Ades of Opening Doors lets you in on her frame of mind.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Thoth So

My son Louis is a big, huge, gigantic, enormous, youtube fan. When he saw the email I received featuring Paul Potts, the cell phone sales man who revealed his astounding talent as an opera singer on Britan’s Got Talent, Louis decided to go on an America’s Got Talent expedition. He saw all kinds of performers; dancers, jugglers, acrobats, ventriloquists, it was endless. He seemed to be drawn to young people who had a unique talent – like the 11 year old girl who could yodel or the 7 year old who sang a song from the Dream Girls sound track. Each time he saw something that was catchy he would shout, “Mom! Mom! Come Fast! You gotta see this!” Louis and I watched all kinds of talented people, and all kinds of people who called themselves talented.

Of all the performances we saw, there was one that stood out. Louis watched it at least 25 times. He called himself S.K. Thoth. He had his hair up in a pony tail in the middle of his head. He wore heavy blue eyeliner on his eyelids and a series of chain necklaces over his chest. He was bare other than the gold colored loin cloth he wore to cover his private parts. He played the violin, he danced and chanted and called himself a “pray-formance” artist because according to him his presentation combined prayer and music. If he won the million dollars offered by the show, his plan was to create a full blown opera.

His performance was shocking. He danced around on stage, kind of like an Indian chief playing the violin, singing a song in an unrecognizable language. It was hard to watch and even harder to listen to. The audience began booing him about 10 seconds into his performance. One of the judges described him as wandering around looking ridiculous making a crazy wailing noise and another judge said he looked like Apocalypto Now with a violin. Here is the link in case you want to see for yourself…

I was stunned. I wondered what kind of person would expose himself knowingly to that kind of humiliation. Was he unaware of how bad he sounded? Sharon Osbourne (Ozzy’s wife) was the third judge. Trying to leave him with whatever miniscule trace dignity was fathomable; she respectfully asked him what language he was singing in. He replied, “I made it up.” The audience howled with laughter at this man’s insanity.

But that was the response that created for me an instant fascination with Thoth. Who goes on stage in front of millions of people, half naked, playing a violin, chanting in his own, made-up language?

Someone with courage.

I know you are probably thinking “Or someone who’s delusional.” But that’s when I started to think that genius and delusion are probably very closely related; perhaps even two sides of the same coin. Geniuses can see what the rest of us are unable to.

So Thoth is ‘out there’ and he absolutely doesn’t fit the mold of anything in our repertoire of normal. But perhaps that is only because our repertoire is so limited. Perhaps there is so much more that we might be able to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel if only we stayed open to it and imagined the possibility. Thoth imagined a new possibility and had the courage to try it. His delusion allowed him to see what the rest of us are unable to.

As odd as it may seem, Thoth set an example for my son that day.


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