Sunday, October 16, 2005

Bruce Lee

I used to be a great fan of Bruce Lee, the martial artist, though not so much a fan of Bruce Lee, a person, at least based on what I learned about the latter. But Bruce Lee, the martial artist, seemed almost tailor-made for me: roughly the same size (small for a man), also someone between cultures (though not between the divine and the human in his case). And he managed with all this baggage to be remembered as one of the greatest of all times! Though I don't think Lee would have been flattered by my admiration, and my one-inch punch will not send you quite as much backwards as his did.

I have seen all the movies Bruce Lee made. He was no actor but a great kicker, and nothing is as funny as the ululations he emitted when he was ready to attack. In general I love the silly martial arts movies; they are great psychological drugs for all sorts of maladies though they may not amount to what is normally called art.

The books Lee wrote are a bit of a letdown. Nothing in them seems any different from the other kung fu books that I have read, which may mean that Lee didn't tell us everything he knew (not uncommon among the Chinese martial artists, I've learned) or that he just wasn't a very good writer or both. Or perhaps whatever made him so memorable can't be taught via books or at all?

He is also memorable because of the way he died: young and under mysterious circumstances. One rumor was that he overdosed on drugs while in the apartment of his mistress, another argues that he was allergic to an ingredient in a basic painkiller and died while resting in the apartment of a colleague. Make of all this what you want, but clearly an early death is a necessary part of the process that results in a larger-life-than-figure. You can count me out here, so I'm glad that the similarities between me and Bruce Lee aren't too deep. And I'm a girl goddess, to boot.

Still, I have a lot to thank Bruce for. If I hadn't learned about him I might never have learned about the real stuff. You know, the stuff that makes you very powerful whatever your size and physical ability. The stuff that I'm not going to reveal to you here...