Matter of Laugh or Death
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL…
I’m progressing toward Enlightenment. I am finally breaking free from the shackles of self-consciousness, pretense, and fear: I no longer care how I look.
This revelation came to me the other day I when went out in my front yard to get the morning paper wearing an old bathrobe, black socks, and a wicked case of bed-head. When a neighbor surprised me by jogging past, I didn’t care. I just waved and walked back toward the house.
When I came inside, my teenage daughters were horrified. “You went outside looking like that?!” they said. “Looking like what?” I replied, genuinely confused at their comment. And that’s when it hit me: I had transcended appearances. At the moment I walked out the front door, the universe consisted only of that newspaper and my desire to read the sports page. Everything else, especially other people’s opinions of how I looked, had ceased to exist.
I took it as a sign of spiritual growth and maturity—either that, or a result of the fact that I had yet to have my first cup of coffee.
It’s not that I’ve always been obsessed about my appearance. After all, my formative years were the 1970s, also know as “The Decade that Fashion Forgot.” Ever since lapels so wide they could poke someone’s eye out and white guys with afros went out of style, I’ve been uncertain about exactly what is fashionable. I usually take my cue from co-workers, wearing whatever seems to be in vogue with them. (Which created a bit of a problem a few years ago when I was transferred to a department consisting only of women. Finding a pair of size 13, triple-E high heels is not an easy task.)
Ever since the age of twelve, about the same time I realized girls did not in fact have “cooties,” I’ve been conscious of trying to appear presentable. You’d never guess it by looking at the photos in my high school year book, but the “slob look” was very attractive back then, further proof that temporary insanity swept the entire nation during the ‘70s.
When I got married in my mid-20s, I knew my days of trying to impress women were over—not that they had ever successfully begun. A best-selling book at the time was Dress for Success, a how-to manual for climbing the corporate ladder via an expensive wardrobe rather than talent. So now I found myself trying to look attractive to middle-aged executives instead of young women. (Trust me, trying to impress women was a lot more fun, especially when a certain middle-aged executive read far too much into a pleasant smile and offered an invitation to spend a cozy weekend at his ski chalet—and he didn’t own any skis!)
My journey to Enlightenment has been helped greatly by family snapshots. In recent years, whenever I flipped through a set of new photographs, I found myself making comments such as, “The camera angle made me look fat,” or, “The lighting made my hair look thin,” or, “The shadows made my eyes look baggy.” After a while, I finally acknowledged it wasn’t the camera’s fault—that is how I really look now.
Fortunately, I’m not wealthy, so there is no temptation to spend tons of money on cosmetic surgery. Besides, people who get face lifts never really look more attractive, they look instead as if two invisible hands are reaching out from behind and pulling their skin back so tightly you suspect their faces could split right in half at any moment, causing their the skulls to come popping out at you. Not all that lovely in my book. If you’re not sure whether cosmetic surgery is a waste of time, I have two words for you: Joan Rivers. (An if you’re still unconvinced, let me offer an additional word: Cher.)
Even if it were possible to turn back the clock and regain a youthful, attractive appearance, I don’t have time for that now. I’m too busy dealing with the appearance of my two teenage daughters, who are far too attractive in the eyes of teenage boys. My girls are not very happy that I force them to go to school wearing old bathrobes, black socks, and wicked cases of bed-head, but someday they’ll thank me.
|Home||Current Faith||Current Funnies||Faith Archive||Funnies Archive||Contact Bill|