Come and gaze with me into the past, specifically my past, where the emotions are potent and the fashions are inerrant.
Picture, if you will, the heady days of the Carter administration. The sweetly unnatural strains of the Bee Gees were blasting from every radio and the dark majesty of Burt Reynolds’ chest hair spilled across America’s movie screens like a wheat field of virility. From this milieu, I burst forth onto planet earth, fully formed and wonderful. An obedient, long-napping blessing to my parents and an eventual benefit to culture and higher thought across planet earth, I was a uniquely special and humble person from the beginning.
Here is a picture of me when I was about a year old. Look carefully, and you will see my adult soul peering out through those blank, unfocused eyes. My thinning baby hair and corpulent double chin belied the cunning and calculation that would later serve me so well in my middle school years.
Let us now address the issue of my false nose in the above photograph. From the start, I used humor as a device to procure the love and acceptance of others. In this instance, the juxtaposition of my childhood innocence with the oversized nose of a man garnered rousing laughter and lifelong memories from my family. In a way, I have chased this image across the years of my life. Every joke I’ve cracked since then, every blog entry I’ve written, and every detention I’ve assigned have, in some sense, been an attempt to recapture this lost moment from my childhood, now gone forever.
Flash forward ten years. Here I sit with my siblings. From left to right, my sister Julia, my brother Brian, myself, and my other brother (whose name escapes me at the moment). Clearly, my life had grown more crowded with the growth of my family. Despite my loud, prolonged protestations, I was no longer the center of my parents’ (and the world’s?) attention.
Once again, my adult characteristics are on full display in this photo. The impatient, withering stare. The sophisticated attire. The disengagement with those closest to me. No doubt my wife will nod and sigh wearily in agreement when she finally reads this blog post after my repeated prompting. Then she’ll return to reminding me not to eat five bowls of cereal in one day.
So there you have it. Me, encapsulated in two photographs and some 400 words. Consider this my obituary, except it is ironic and flagrantly inaccurate.
Still though, this is how I choose to be remembered.
*Cue “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan*