Perhaps the task of relating the power of Madea to something relevant in the world, outside myself of course, is quite a daunting task. You see, the only taste of cultural relevance I have is American Idol and Glee. I know, my white people miss me. Anyways, I scoured the book for some connections. Yet, I couldn't possibly relate Madea to Glee since the last time I saw the jubilant high schoolers parading around the stage was an hour after the season finale aired. On the internet. Our cable conveniently blew for that entire slot. So I had to use American Idol. It's hip, relevant, and although it hasn't touched the world since Clay Aiken adopted some baby, I am still keeping faith in my homegirl Ellen. I became hopeful with Madea's commentary on ugly guys, thinking I could make a jab at Simon Cowell. Yet, my hope quickly turned to despair, mortification, and disgust. I was ashamed of myself for about thirty seconds before plowing onto the next segment. About halfway through, I realized that I just had to talk about myself since finding American Idol irrelevancies was as productive as shoe shopping. And I hate shoe shopping.
So, when Madea nonchalantly gabbed about playing Frisbee, I knew she was talking to me. I had to pay attention. Lord knows, I am the worst Frisbee player known to man. Literally. I have taken people out with my unintentional sideways wobble-in-the-air-and-smack-you-between-the-eyes-because-you-were-too-busy-laughing-at-my-pathetic-throw-HA-karma-idiot attack. So, I can only assume I am just as lethal when it comes to Madea's metaphorical Frisbee. When I finally see my opportunity to throw it, it might just loop around like a boomerang and smack me in the face. Anyways, she mentioned about holding onto it for the sake of mankind. I added that last bit because she probably saw me through the pages and realized that with my assassin-like wrist flick, I could disembody a poor man. Oh well, I can always attempt to figure out how to turn channels on the television and see how some girls monitor theirs on MTV. Or I can go outside and, with the real thing, mow the grass.
Besides that, I find Madea extremely hard to relate to, and at the same time, I feel her jabbing a red painted fingernail straight into my chest whenever one of her pearls of wisdom attack me. Especially when it comes to her dieting secrets, the importance of passion, her incredibly short attention span/chapter on spiritual and religious influences, the secret of flirting... well, pretty much everything. I just find the voice a bit rough to adjust to. It's like riding on one of those banana rafts down in Cancun, Madea fires a wave of advice and I better hold like hell if I want to stay put. Sometimes, I did go spiraling off. There was one instance where it was for my own accord. I leaned back, paused, and asked aloud to no one in particular, "Wait, so she lost a thong AND a school desk down there... and I am sure she said something else but..." and then I realized that people were staring so I just laughed and pointed to the cover. They understood. Heck, I'm a senior. It's not like I'll be seeing these people around or ever again. But I probably will be seeing Madea at the most unexpected places, probably next to the Crisco whenever I go shopping at Giant.
I guess what Madea was attempting to do was allow us a bit of self discovery. True, attempting to relate directly to her was like attempting to situate yourself on a bed of nails. It looks like a bed, it can be used like a bed, but in reality, one cannot possibly remain comfortable on the needles for long. I can relate to Madea through a different plane and still find a way to peer into and relate to her life. I don't necessarily think the Madea's of the world are extinct. I believe they are everywhere and very well could be asleep inside us. Why else would the book make sense? She spoke through the layers that society had preordained and was able to relate to men and women of every ethnicity. Within America, of course. I really can't imagine my European friends' mothers swallowing the concept of rubbing Vaseline on toilet bowls or why Michael Jackson is, jokingly, her worst fear. That's what makes Tyler Perry/ Madea a specifically American humor. That's what is so striking about the style. It was a book written in a manner that only Americans would "get." It intrinsically links us to all the things we see revolving around us and are just too busy to notice until Madea smacks us in the face with them. Take her prevalent rants about using inappropriate words, when someone brings it to your attention that they may not approve of your mannerisms, you become so much more aware of them. It reminds me of a friend who gave up the F-bomb for Lent, she never knew how much she said it until she became aware of it. We became aware of our own fallacies, as well as the world around us. People aren't perfect and we, as human beings need to accept that.
That said, Madea is a class all by herself. Not necessarily because she's wide enough to not allow another contender fit into her genre, but because she is unique... and incredibly funny. I never laugh aloud during books, but this one made me do it a multitude of times. She is a wise woman trapped in the body of a man. And, if you think about it. That's what she is... hence my former assertion that there is a Madea in all of us.