Good-Looking Murderers

A few days ago, it was reported that Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in jail. Hernandez, a famous sports star, rocketed into super-stardom when he was convicted of a brutal murder, and it came to light that he had been suspected in other murders. The reports on his death were grisly and left many questions.

When I checked my Facebook feed, a friend had posted an article about the death of Hernandez. I read the comments that followed the posted article. One, written by a gay man that I know, read, “He was hot! I wish he’d murder me!”


As I processed through that statement and all that it implied about humanity, human consciousness, and social media, I scrolled farther down, where another friend had posted a meme about Hernandez committing suicide, a meme that also included Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain, and others, with a horribly unfunny joke about suicide. The friend had just written one thing about it. “What, too soon?”

I closed my computer and stepped away for a moment. As a professional, I have worked with the loved ones of those who have committed suicide many times over, and I have seen the emptiness, the pain, the shock, and the horror on their faces after the news comes in and in the days and weeks that have followed. I have also, to a lesser extent, worked with the families and loved ones of both those who have committed murder and those who have lost someone to murder. Going through something like that changes a person forever, irrevocably haunting them for the rest of their lives.

My mind flashed back to a few years ago, when I was running an LGBT history channel on YouTube, doing daily posts on events related to LGBT people and history. One day, I had done a post on Jeffrey Dahmer, a gay man who had committed dozens of horrific murders that defy explanation or understanding. Dahmer, now a legendary and, dare I say, celebrated serial killer was later violently killed while incarcerated by another inmate. The research I had done into his life and crimes had haunted me for days. I posted the video on social media, and someone in seconds had committed, “Mmm, look at him. Getting killed by him would have been worth it.”


These thoughts stuck with me for a few days, disturbing, hanging out in the back of my brain. These people I knew were sexualizing murderers. Passive comments, for sure, and given without much thought. But an errant joke about suicide isn’t that funny if you’ve lost someone to suicide, and an errant joke about murder–well, frankly, neither one of them are funny at all. The killers and the victims were fathers, brothers, sons. They were humans who had lives and potentials. And when they were taken, gone, their pasts were all that were left. All of their potential, all of the paths they would have walked, all of the children they may have brought into the world, all gone with them.

My brain dredged up to similar comments I had heard over the years. When Dylan Roof killed 8 black worshippers in a church, I read a comment about ‘at least he killed old people’ on social media. In high school, when stories about Mary Kay Letourneau hit the media telling of how she had had sex with a much younger student, I remember some of the guys in my high school saying how lucky the student was, how much they wish they had had a teacher like that.

I wondered to myself the kind of world that we live in, where we as a culture are more focused on how hot or how young someone is, how desensitized to the news we are that we search for the horrific and titillating details, details which ultimately have little impact on us. This is a world where a woman makes a post on social media in support of Planned Parenthood, and a stranger comments on her feed that she deserves to be raped.

As I prepared my thoughts on this particular blog entry, I took a break and clicked on the news button on my iPhone. Four featured stories popped up, as they usually did. Something horrible about Donald Trump as usual, and then a detailed report about hundreds being killed in Syria in a brutal attack. Beneath that were two more stories, one about a celebrity divorce and a fourth about a celebrity’s plastic surgery mishaps.

A cold calm came over me as I realized the programming here, the way we view the news itself, the way we are indoctrinated into seeing the world. Hundreds of Syrian deaths mean nothing to those who aren’t Syrian, but the celebrity divorce gets clicked on because we have seen these people in a few movies. And the advertisers pay more for the stories that are clicked on. How quickly we cultivate an inability to feel horrible when we read something horrible. How swiftly we devolve into unsympathetic creatures when we scan the photos of murderers and victims and we focus solely on how attractive they were. We consider the mass deaths of strangers as shrug-worthy, and the tragic deaths of the young and beautiful a true tragedy.

And we are surrounded by men and women who feel no grief at the loss of life, yet they find value in the looks of the killers.

Big Bucket of Fat


Red liquid pooled around my feet, dripping from the eight holes in my abdomen and forming a large red puddle on the floor of my laundry room.

“Gross…” I muttered, and I wondered why it didn’t hurt. Bright red streaks ran across my shorts and down my legs, over my feet and to the floor, drip-drip-drip, incessantly. I couldn’t go get a towel or the liquid would get all over the carpet, so I would just have to stand here until the draining finished.

“What if this was blood?” I wondered, and gave a small shudder, and thanked my stars that it wasn’t.

I leaned up against the wall as the fluid drained out of me and thought back to how I ended up here. Not all that complicated, really. Four years before, I had gone from 255 pounds to 175 pounds. “How did you do it?” everyone asked, and I shrugged and gave easy answers like “Well, I started caring about myself, eating better, and exercising.” The weight had come off rather quickly, and it was immediately apparent. I was a completely different person that few years that I spent obese, both inside and outside.

And since then, I had been getting into shape slowly and surely, consistently and steadily. I had no plans to run a marathon or enter a body-building competition, I just wanted to look on the outside like I felt on the inside. And I felt good, so I wanted to look good. Putting on muscle inspired more confidence, feeling like an athlete during a workout made me feel like I could do anything I set my mind to.

Yet no matter how hard I had tried, I couldn’t lose that last little bit of fat around the middle. It wasn’t debilitating, it was just… there. And I didn’t like it. The last vestiges of my former life. And so I thought about it for a few years, saved up for a long time, and decided to go in for liposuction. I had had LASIK surgery years before and it had been life-changing. This one would definitely be confidence-boosting.

The first appointment, I had met with a super-model-looking woman, a brunette with perfect make-up and tanned skin. She’d been a little bit flirtatious. “Oh, Chad, you’ll look so hot after this procedure! Wow, you’ll turn heads! You’ll be glad you did this for your whole life! You are so making the right decision!”

And then, on the day of the actual procedure, the gorgeous women had walked me through a set of double-doors to the medical clinic, where a very short and very chubby nurse waited for me. She was wonderful and attentive and sweet, but I had been horrified that they kept this wonderful woman behind the doors and hired the model to be up front. After a time, and some before pictures, the doctor came back and drew all over me with marker, gave me some anesthetic (I chose the mildest), and began filling my abdomen with Lidocaine.

The red liquid pumped into me in surprising quantities, and the doctor explained that they were inserting it between the skin and muscle to help separate things and deaden the appropriate areas. My stomach swelled up, full of liquid.

Then he punctured my abdomen in eight small places, along the top bottom, and sides of my stomach.

And then he began inserting a small tube and, no way to say it any other way, sucked fat out of my abdomen.  He explained that this procedure would permanently remove the fat cells from these areas of my body. I could gain fat again in the future, but it would collect in other areas of my body; this was a permanent transformation.

I watched yellow adipose move through the tube out of my body and plop into a bucket nearby. And in time, there was literally a bucket of gloppy squishy fat in a bucket next to me. A bucket of fat. A literal bucket of fat.

“Wow, I’m getting more out of you than I expected to. You were hiding this well in there,” the doctor said, like he was complimenting me. I pictured him doing this all day, every day, sucking fat out of people, and wondered what the world felt like when that became routine. I guessed that his paycheck more than compensated for any job related stress.

And pretty soon I had a friend driving me home, my body wrapped up tightly in a body stocking. I had laid an old blanket down on the couch and slept for a long time. And then, when the time was right, I got up to loosen the stocking, unclasping and unzipping it.

And there it was, the Lidocaine pooling on the floor, clearing itself out of my system. It took nearly an hour before the dripping stopped, and then an hour after that cleaning up the massive mess with piles of towels, which were tossed into the washer, one red-stained mass.

The recovery after that had gotten a bit easier every day, but it did take a while. For the first few weeks, my entire abdomen felt bruised and sore, stretched tight. I rubbed Arnica lotion on the skin a few times per day, and took Arnica pills, which was supposed to reduce swelling. I took a lot of aspirin. I wore the body stocking a lot. The next few months, my stomach constantly felt like I had just done one thousand sit-ups, the muscles tired and tight. But I could tell a difference immediately.

It’s been ten months now and I can definitely tell a difference in my abdomen after the procedure. My confidence is higher, my exercise routine continues to increase. I didn’t tell many people I had had it done, not that I was ashamed, mostly because it was no one else’s business. The procedure is paid off. I get Emails from the company from time to time, asking if I need something else done, and I smile and simply don’t reply.

Once was enough. I chose it carefully, saved up for it, and did something for me. And that felt good.

And besides, now I have stories to tell about pooling puddles of Lidocaine and buckets of yellow fat.