Be a tough concept to grasp, apparently...

SENSITIVITY CAN

August 27, 1993

SENSITIVITY CAN be a tough concept to grasp, apparently even for someone trying to be sensitive.

Actor Mel Gibson, who directs and stars in a new movie titled "The Man Without A Face," appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno the other evening to plug his film. Gibson plays the role of a teacher whose face has been severely disfigured and who eventually kindles a relationship with a troubled adolescent.

Although Gibson himself offered the single word "tolerance" as a capsule summary of the movie's message, on Mr. Leno's show '' he repeatedly referred jokingly to his character as "pizza face." Makes you think of "pepperoni," he chuckled after a clip was shown. The host, fortunately, knew enough not to acknowledge his guest's unfortunate quips and let them drop.

Surely, the Australian actor didn't mean to disparage anyone; he'd just spent months making a movie that might work to aid acceptance of burn victims and others. But if he could make a remark that could hurt a Tonight Show viewer who suffers from disfigurement, how easy would it be for the rest of us?

* * * AFTER marveling at reports of "iron man" marathons, those contests that add swimming and biking to long-distance running, we sometimes find ourselves wondering, "But what's the point?" Now, however, comes word of a truly useful iron man competition.

A department store in Lincoln, Neb., and a German iron manufacturer teamed up to sponsor an "iron man" contest as part of a bridal fair earlier this week. The challenge for grooms-to-be was -- you guessed it -- to iron a shirt. Their brides could cheer them on, but they couldn't help.

The Associated Press reports that none of the three entrants finished ironing his shirt in the allotted three minutes, but a panel of judges said Darren Nelson of Lincoln did the best job.

He won a new iron.

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