Rick Genest Alias Zombie Boy Dead At 32 (And What I’ve Realized About Myself)
Rest In Peace
Zombie Boy Kinda-Sorta Changed My Life In A Weird Way
Rick Genest alias ”Zombie Boy” was the walking example of that old saying that says : ”Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover”. Yet the news of him passing away today had me caught up with mixed feelings and here’s why.
When I was a teenager something weird happened to me (I’m actually going somewhere with this). I was taking the subway to Longueuil and I’ve bumped into something I never thought I would: A man tatted 95% of his body with skulls and bugs.
Yes I was face to face with Rick Genest for about 3 stations up to my destination. I didn’t know what to do or say. He was calm, serene and didn’t mind the strange expression of curiosity on my face.
I guess he was used to it. I guess he was used to have people looking at him funny. People quick to judge, quick to label him and that specific afternoon, I was one of those people.
Little did I know that afternoon, Rick was dealing was his fair share of challenges. Rick was an artist that used his body as a canvas. Rick was a model to be, Rick was a son, most of all Rick was a human being.
Fast forward after our encounter, something even more disturbing happened. I happened to stumble upon the now famous Lady Gaga videoclip ”Born This Way” which featured Zombie Boy.
I remember looking at the video saying: ”I’ve Seen This Guy Before!”. I did my research and later found out that the ”the tatted guy in Born This Way” was actually from Montreal.
It only donged on me that he was the guy that I’ve seen in that subway in Longueuil when I’ve watched him in an interview. I was so fascinated by the guy. About what he had to say, his experience as an homeless man and overall perspective on things.
I felt guilty about my sudden interest to him. I felt like a fraud too. Did I gave him validation because of his new found status? Was he very different than the first time we’ve met?
Those are things I will never know. When I think back to this afternoon in the subway; all I had in mind was discomfort. I’ve treated him as a misfit without trying to create a dialog.
This, my friends, is what society is about. We judge, we don’t want to engage nor understand the less fortunate. We acknowledge outsiders only when they quote unquote ”made it”.
Yet, we’re hypocrites and meanwhile those issues are very real. His suicide touched me because it reminded how hypocrite I once was. Rick to me could’ve been the best spokesperson for those issues.
Everybody needs a voice and we’ve just lost one of the loudest….