Curse you Mr. Kodak and your new-fangled picture box!

I got a curious email today from someone who wanted to know what I look like. I suppose that is a fair question. I know I have posted pictures here sometime over the last couple of years, but even I can’t find the damn things (curse my lack of pre-blogger archiving!). So since I had been meaning to get a couple of photos into a digital format anyway I will force the gruesome spectacle treat you to them.

First up is a picture of me circa 1978. I am 4 years old in that picture (just turned actually). Do you like that shirt I am wearing? Isn’t it cute with the little elephants and whatnot? Yeah, that is an old bedsheet (possibly pillowcase) that my mother turned into a shirt because we were a frugal family. Mind you, this was while my parents were still together and money wasn’t that big of an issue (as far as I know), but no sense letting perfectly good, if aged, bed sheets go to waste, right? I would also like to point out the size of my ears in that picture. If memory serves (and it is funny how dead-on memory can be on matters like this) the photographer had me position my head in such a way to try to detract from the size of my ears, which I swear to god were as big when I was four as they are today. I got called dumbo a lot. Later I would use my hanging lobes (that’s hereditary) to my advantage and get the nickname changed to budha, not that it is a significant improvement, either I was the fat man or the elephant. Ahh, the joys of youth.

Ohh, you were looking for something a bit more recent? Okay, here we have a picture from 1980. That’s right, folks, two years later and I am wearing the same damn shirt! Those with a keen eye might observe that the shirt appears to be long sleeved in the 1978 photo, while it is certainly short sleeved in the 1980 photo. I honestly can’t remember, but I do know that many of our long sleeved shirts did get trimmed down to short sleeves, as boys can be particularly brutal to the elbows of dress shirts. Not that this was really a dress shirt, like I say it was a recycled bed sheet, but you get the point. In fact during my early years I remember going to yard sales with my parents and picking out odd t-shirts to buy with my allowance. Once I even bought the loudest, ugliest, Kiss: Dynasty sweater you have ever seen. The thing was a hazard orange color with a big iron-on patch on the front of it. I loved that thing, which is probably why my mother wouldn’t dare to let me out of the house with it on. And certainly not on picture day, no no, I had to wear something nice. Something so nice, in fact, that I only ever wore it on picture day. And so did both of my brothers. One of these homemade shirts, and I am not sure if it was this one, is the same one that each of us wore to school on our first day of the first grade, immortalized for all of time, wearing a horrid bedsheet turned big-collared, Saturday Night Fever-esque split-tail chaser. Thanks mom.

This is really one of my favorite photos from all of my childhood, and not only because someone had the good sense to realize that the colors that were in fashion in the 70s weren’t going to last forever, and instead opted for black & white. To my knowledge, this is the only photo of me ever taken where I do not have a huge scar on my right wrist. Sure there were other photos of me before I got said scar, but this is the only one that I can look at the wrist to prove to myself that it once was as normal as everyone elses, because honestly after walking around with the scar since I was 6 years old, I certainly can’t remember what my body looked like without it. If you really need to, you can click on that one to see it much larger, but still only half of the scanned resolution because really, who needs to look at my cute little face any closer up than that? Oh, also this was my first Student of the Month picture. This one was for the month of September in 1980. I would go on to take down that award in October of 1981, November of 1982 -notice a pattern?- then once each year it was available, but the months just got all random after the third grade, since I was changing schools so much.

Shortly after that photo, I started going through that awkward phase that all kids go through: the 80s. Hmm. Come to think of it, I guess not all kids go through that. Here is a picture of me from one of those years in the 80s, this one happens to be 1982. Again I am wearing a shirt that at one point was a bed sheet. You will also note that it is a newly made shirt, since it is still long sleeved. No doubt the next year’s school photo (which I don’t have) was in a short sleeved version of the very same shirt. My ears stand out nicely in this one as well, but at least my head is catching up to them as far as size goes. This also must have been right around the time they decided that the background profile added a lot to pictures. Yeah, nothing like catching that awkward youth from every possible angle, eh? I can almost hear the photographer yelling to get me to pose, for the front view he must have been saying, “Okay, Look like Opie Taylor”. While for the profile, he must have been saying, “Now you are smug. You are too good for this god damned photo shoot. What the fuck are you doing here? It’s beneath you!” And I gotta say, I nailed ’em both!

Then there is this gem. This would have been in 1984, and by the looks of it, it was also the very day that they put a bowl on my head and gave me the customary hairstyle of every kid that just wanted to fit in, yet never did. Around the same time, paternity tests were being filed to see if the beaver that lived in the nearby lake might have been my biological father. There is a cautionary tale in this photo as well. Because of when my birthday falls, I was always a year younger than most everyone in my grade. While Junior High coincided with the beginning of the teens for most, I would still be twelve. It didn’t matter so much by the time of graduation, since the difference was only 8 months or so at worst, but when I was younger and the kids around me were all going through puberty at about the same time I was finally filling in my big boy teeth, it made a huge difference (that is exaggerated a tad, but the point remains the same). So I was always smaller than the other boys in my class, and I was always more intelligent than them as well. That is not a good combo to have, since bigger boys like to pick on the resident class brains anyway, and when they outweigh you by forty pounds, and are six inches taller than you, there just isn’t much “standing up” to be done. Unless you happen to like getting your ass kicked, that is.

I don’t really have any recent photos. In fact the most recent one I have handy is this mugshot um, professionally photographed headshot. Yeah, I didn’t really pay for this photo, and it kind of shows. What horrible lighting. And did I even comb that mop? Could there possibly have been a more plain backdrop? All in all I am not at all happy with the way this one turned out, but I got no response to my request for a reshoot. Those damn uppity photographers! Whose idea was the maroon shirt with the blue background anyway?

That picture is about five years old and little has changed since then. I have a few more gray hairs, and there are little crows feet starting form around the edge of my eyes, but aside from that I don’t look much different at 32 than I did at 22. I also started wearing glasses last December. I don’t actually have a photo of myself with glasses on, which really isn’t that odd, I suppose, since I would guess that at best someone actually takes my picture maybe once a year, and then it is only on vacation. I am just not an interesting enough person to be photographing. Oh yeah, I don’t have any pictures, but I do have this one artist’s rendering. I am really a bit ticked about the way it came out though. I never wore those big, ugly 70s era sunglasses. The ones I was wearing were top of the line Ray Ban, and they certainly weren’t those cheek-covering monstrosities. Also, my hair was never curly like that, it was just like it was in the one with the blue backdrop, just kind of falling funny across my forehead. Other than that though, I think the artist did a pretty good job. The chin and mouth are dead on, he made my nose just a touch to narrow, but that could just be bad shading, who knows.

Well anyway, there you have it. That is what I look like.

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