Have you really—I mean really—ever experienced trauma? I’m not talking about the serious injury kind or trauma including any kind of injury. I’m referring to a potential life-changing moment based on an instant observation when that observation completely turned your world upside down; and not in a positive way. It’s a big-time negative “AH-HA!” moment when you know from that instant forward your life will never be the same again, and was caused mainly (get this) by your own self-deception. |
It’s like when you discover you’re no longer a suave, romantic fellow who can court any lady he wants; but instead a goofy-looking, dumb schlep who is too old to be taken seriously by a female of any age; or maybe it’s when you listen to your recorded voice for the first time and discover you’re actually gosh-awful instead of the gifted vocalist with exquisite tone you assumed yourself to be. Yeah, it’s that kind of thing.
Anyway, it happened to me yesterday. I was innocently accompanying by wife, Kay, into a ladies’ clothing department of a major retail outlet. Along the way I was being my usual witty, charming self for the benefit of anyone within earshot of my clever remarks. I was really cool (kewl in teenager text-speak), but (now in hindsight) realize the returned looks weren’t those of fawning admiration, but those of: What-the-hell?…or Maybe-I-should-call-security…or Mommy-that-man-is scaring-me…type looks. Instantly, I was transformed into Anthony Newley’s naïve, clueless, inept character, Cocky, from “The Roar of the Greasepaint; The Smell of the Crowd”. (Picture a duffass with a vacant look breathing only through an open mouth and uttering, “Duuhh, gee whiz! Uh-hyulk!”)
The eye-opener (That can’t be me!) occurred when I looked into a mirror.
Look at that face / Just look at it / Look at that funny, old face of your’s…
No big deal, you say? Don’t you do that daily when shaving, brushing teeth and hair, popping a zit, etc.? True enough, but this mirror was a special mirror—the kind that semi-surrounds you, and gives you a one-eighty perspective.
…I knew first look I took at it / You have a face like a kitchen door…
My mother always said one can never see himself as another does, which I believe she meant included more than one’s reflected anti-amorphous self (thanks to senior HS trig teacher, R.T. Fallon for that clever expression), but I didn’t get it at the time. I thought she meant because the image was backwards.
…Look at those eyes / As close as the closest of friends / Look at that nose / It starts where a good nose ends…
Back to the mirror: I immediately noticed three main things: 1) I needed a haircut, 2) my nose is bigger than I thought, and 3) my face contained more wrinkles and lines than I imagined. And what’s with that turkey neck? I told Kay I needed to make immediate appointments for haircut, nose job, and face lift.
…As for your smile: spectacular! / Wondering what frightened the birds away / You have a face like Dracula / And I mean that in the kindest way…
She replied that (except for the haircut) it was expensive, painful, and might need repeating after five or so years. Rats! The “pain” part disqualified the procedures as an option; me being a real wimp where anything-that-hurts is involved.
…To say that there’s no one like you / Would not even state the case / Now I know why I shook / When I first took a look at that face!
Well, at least my teeth are clean, white, and strong; and my hair has not turned gray. BUT my hair is thinning and doesn’t have that nice casual bounce that it used to. My body is lean and toned thanks to a lifelong regimen of physical fitness and diet, but no matter how much moisturizer I apply my skin is losing elasticity. Double rats!
I attempt to keep limber and lithe by daily pilates and yoga exercises, but lately I wake up with occasional stiffness and aches.
Look, my friends, intellectually I know I’ll succumb to the fate we all share, but I still fight what I know will be a losing battle. We’re born, live, grow old (if we’re lucky), and die. All that remains is disintegration. I wonder how much of me—fragments or atoms—will be here when the sun becomes a red giant, boils away the seas, and evaporates the atmosphere.
Hey, I’m not asking for much; I just want to be the exception to the rule. Is that so wrong?
Gene Myers – author, speaker, dreamer; and one of the most feared and respected pocket-pool players in North America.
Check out AFTER HOURS and SONGS FROM LATTYS GROVE from Amazon Kindle.
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