Small Talk

Please, get me on my good side

I was actually given two good photos of myself last week. This is astounding, people.
I realize I am not alone in hating most pictures of myself. What’s worse is that I hate them until five to 10 years later when I look back at them and marvel that I was ever that young, firm and, well, not terrible looking after all. How does that happen?
Meanwhile, all credit for my recent photo successes must go to the photographer, who regularly turns out wonderful images. But just to keep me humble, she will give me all the pictures she took of me and there is usually at least one that makes me want to crawl under my bed and not come out. It will have caught me an unflattering angle … that being almost anything except dead on, and even that’s a gamble. If I’m not paying attention, it seems my hunched shoulders and triple chin are painfully obvious. In the words of Charlie Brown (or maybe it was Lucy), “Aaugh!”
I finally understand the temperamental actors who won’t allow themselves to be filmed from a particular side. I am considering some sort of body drape or item along the lines of the Phantom of the Opera’s mask. I just need something that hides my horrible posture and tucks up tightly under my chin. Oh wait … that would be a burkah.
You don’t want to deny your progeny a record of your general existence, but I really don’t want photos that make me look rather like my great-great-great-grandmother who came across in a covered wagon. The only difference is that I smile. She, heaven knows, posed outside the sod cabin, had precious little to smile about. But never having rolled across prairies, how is it I now have the same slumped, weather-beaten countenance? So much for progress.
I am, in fact, more than a little frustrated with my body these days. I do sit-ups every morning. I walk uphill to work most days. I park far away from the supermarket and have 14 steps to climb every single day just to get to my bedroom. Why then, do I not have the stature of a 20-year-old? Or even a not-slumped-over, doesn’t-look-exhausted 60-year-old?
I can hear those letters being written now. Join a gym. Go every morning. Take kickboxing four days a week. Find a time machine. These are all equally probable scenarios for my future.
If you see me and I’m walking in the shape of a question mark, just smack me on the back and tell me to “Shape up!” I won’t even be offended, and maybe, just maybe that next candid photo will find me looking younger. I’ll settle for 50.