el malito has not received any gifts yet
April, almost two years ago, frustrated about where I was musically, and about to break up with my latest band, I decided to start a solo project.
I had an idea for a song based on the Platypus, a semiaquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia. After learning about this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed, baffling mammal I understood something about my identity and place in this crazy world.
See, I was born in Puerto Rico, moved to the US when I was 10 years old. I'm Latino, Spanish is my 1st language. But the first thing people tend to think when they see me is "that guy is black" because I don't fit the Latino stereotype. Even though I had the physique and athleticism for sports like football, track and field, and baseball I choose gymnastics and diving. For many years I went to night clubs, danced in the ciphers, battled other dancers. I ended up dancing for a hip hop dance company for many years. But my music of choice was rock, The Beatles, The Police, New Order, Talking Heads, Radiohead, etc.
I never felt comfortable in any one situation, with any one particular group of people. I always felt uneasy, still kinda do. But I don't feel fully crazy like I used to feel. See I know I'm a Platypus and like the Platypus, who inhabits a small part of the world, I exist and I thrive and I'm here. I count. Too many of us feel like we don't count, like we don't belong anywhere, like freaks, weirdos, like outcasts. The Platypus made me realize it's ok to be strange, it's ok to be unaware of your strangeness, it's ok to be baffling.
Someone recently asked me why a Platypus? Before I had a chance to answer her, we were interrupted and we were not able to return to our conversation. The next day she messaged me and this is what she wrote me, "I think I have finally figured out the Platypus thing. I tend to over think and make complications where none exist. But regarding the Plat, it is just about acceptance and embracing the differences that are in all of us, right? The plat is one unique animal, different from all others. But that makes the Plat special, not an outcast. It is a great analogy for the human race. I get it now. And I like it. Continue forth in your art my dear man, and bring your message of love, peace and acceptance to all mankind. It's good. And so are you."
She very clearly summarized why I do what I do. Her message sent the same kinda chills and exhilaration that run through my body when performing for a group of people. She knows she counts. And her understanding of my crazy views about our world made me feel like I count.
I'm a weirdo, a freak, an outcast.
I'm a Platypus.
I throw your webs in the air and wave 'em like I just don't care.
Perhaps you feel the same.