I’ve been trying to find recent photos of myself to post on Facebook that accurately reflect my current age. We got out some scrapbooks that featured shots of us during a few recent vacations.
I found a really flattering one and I couldn’t help but comment to Mary Ellen that I thought I looked pretty good, maybe 10 years younger than my actual 72 years. My wife agreed completely, and then she skipped to the next photo from our cruise.
“Who’s the old man gobbling down that giant sausage sandwich?” I asked.
“That old man would be you, Dick.”
“That can’t be me. That guy looks 85.”
“You just didn’t take a very good picture that day.”
“For the record, you took the picture. And you’re saying that between Prague and Budapest, I went from looking like we were recently wed, to looking like I was nearly dead? What accounts for the big change?”
“First of all, you have to be aware of everything else in the photo. When you were next to that attractive young waiter at the outdoor cafe, it made you look old in comparison.”
“I see, Mary Ellen. So is that why you always stood in front of 300-year-old castles?”
“Capturing a good portrait is also about lighting, camera angle, and the colors you are wearing. And, of course, the number of pixels . . . whatever that means. For example, in our house you look much younger and more attractive in the kitchen lighting than in the bedroom lighting. Sorry, that was an unfortunate example. Oh, and in the garage, you look terrific for your age. Those 40-watt bulbs do wonders. One day while you’re tidying up out there, we’ll take a better picture for your Facebook wall. Even our close friends know that in the snapshot you have posted now, you’ve photoshopped your own hair from an old college yearbook.”
One thing I’ve noticed is that I appear a lot younger when I look in my bathroom mirror than when I look in Mary Ellen’s bathroom mirror. I asked her why. “Simple,” she said. “In your bathroom, some of the bulbs are usually burned out and the mirror is always foggy. Peering at yourself through those conditions covers a multitude of sins. And by the way, Dick, I’m tired of driving 15 miles to see movies at the theater far away from here—not because you want to see a particular film, but because you think you look younger in their men’s room mirror than you do at home.”
“So which one is the actual me? What do I truly look like?” (I know Joan Rivers used to ask herself the same question.)
“I would say, Dick, that when you first get out of bed in the morning, walk under the skylight and stagger to the bathroom, that’s what you really look like.”
“And the same for you, correct?”
“Heavens, no. The real me is AFBL.”
“AFBL?”
“Yes: After Foundation, Blush and Lipstick.”
As we took our evening walk yesterday, a neighbor remarked that I looked tired and asked if I was under the weather. “No, he’s fine,” said Mary Ellen. “He’s just under a streetlamp.”
Dick Wolfsie appears weekdays on television sharing his humor, stories and video essays. His column appears weekly in The Paper of Montgomery County. E-mail Dick at Wolfsie@aol.com.