Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Over Exposure

First things first: congratulations to my nephew Kelly who welcomed a son to his branch of the family yesterday. As his mother Linda put it, much better and more succinctly than can I, yesterday brought "a son for my [her] son." Indeed. Much happiness and good luck to him and his bunch. Grandparents (x5) for his Mom/Dad and another great-grandbaby added to Mom's tote board. Good stuff all around.

My oldest brother Bill had an extended, rather distinguished career in radio. I have a face for radio. One of my least favorite days of every school year was Picture Day. For those of us who went to school in the non-digital photography age and who are not especially photogenic, Picture Day was torture parsed out into two equal portions: now and later.

Discretion being the better part of valor, most of my school yearbooks were consigned to history's scrap heap a long time ago. If I really looked hard for it - and I cannot fathom why I would - then I could probably get my hands on my 12th grade yearbook. The rest of them? Not so much. I suppose that I have former classmates who have held onto theirs over the past quarter century. I know not why. But since they are not occupying any space in my basement, I care not.

The worst part about Picture Day was that if you actually got one that came out well, you were not allowed to simply declare it to be "My School Picture" for the duration of your academic life and use it annually until graduation. Nope. The shelf life for the keepers was no better or worse than it was for the dogs: the remainder of that academic year.

Up until my senior year, there were two specific nightmare experiences at Picture Day that remain firmly etched in my mind's eye all these years later. When I was in 7th grade, I bore witness to my father and the official school photographer Phil Berkebile having a (insert your euphemism here. I shall opt for....) "heated discussion" about the fact that having a kid with a big, oversized round head and bad smile did not constitute a "technical imperfection" that warranted a free "re-take" of said son's picture. Interesting argument Berkebile mounted in defense of his position. He did not dispute that the picture was horrible. He simply pointed out that he used a camera and not a magic wand. Much to my dismay, his cool logic ultimately impressed Dad, who agreed that my utter absence of photogenic quality was the work of chromosome and not Kodachrome.

Thereafter, in 11th grade I had the misfortune of having to have my yearbook picture taken only two or three days after I blew out my ankle in our season-opening soccer game. While now W-H is a school that has an elevator (hooray for the ADA!) back in the day it did not. Getting from one floor of the building to another for class required one on crutches, which I was, to hop up and down the stairs. In September. In a building with no air conditioning. In a school that required gentlemen to wear a jacket and tie. Good ol' Mr. Berkebile. He managed to use the canvas I have him with which to work to make me look like ten miles of rough road in the yearbook. Not a pretty picture.

Little did I know that my experiences to that point had really been the "above the water" portion of the iceberg. Senior year was clearly the below the water portion of the 'berg. At the time, each senior had a color portait in the yearbook, which portrait occupied one-half of one page in the yearbook. At that size, even my head looks to be in proportion to the rest of me. Everyone made appointments for when/where one's portrait was to be taken. My friend Mark Bowman had his taken while seated in his Mustang. Steve Ashton had his taken with his stuffed Jerry Garcia doll.

Me? I was slated for a Sunday morning at Echo Lake Park. Of course, the date of my photo shoot, it rained. It rained with such ferocity that trios of animals on the side of the road were playing "rock/paper/scissors" for spots on Noah's boat. The photo shoot was scrubbed. Mr. Berkebile was supposed to contact those of us who got screwed out of our scheduled appointment so that we could arrange a new date and time. Whether he called anyone else I know not. I know that my "contact" came in the form of being directed during a free period one morning to head out to the driveway to meet Mr. Berkebile as he was on campus to take my senior portrait. I protested. I lost.

Fifteen minutes later, Phil the Thrill and I renewed acquaintances for the last time. My senior portrait was taken NOT in Echo Lake Park while wearing a sharp-looking suit (presuming I owned such a garment). It was taken standing under a tree next to Mr. Blazo's house at the top of the driveway coming into the school parking lot while wearing whatever the hell I happened to wear to school that day.

I enjoyed high school quite a lot. I enjoyed getting photographed for official purposes not at all. Since high school, given the opportunity I volunteer to be the one taking photos since one doing the clicking is not likely to also be the one doing the posing. So far in adulthood the reasons for which I have had to be photographed have been few and far between. Trust me, I am not complaining.

Yesterday however brought back a bad memory of days gone by. The Firm is updating our web site. This time round, "progress" means that all of us who practice law at WL shall have our photos next to our names on the web site. Lucky us. The young woman who took my official picture was very nice - as opposed to old Berkebile who I cared for not at all - and very efficient. I was in and out of the chair in about 2 minutes. I presume that her equipment was digital and that had I asked to see what my photograph looked like she not only could have shown me but she would have. I opted not to. I look in the mirror every time I am in the bathroom. That is more than enough. I assure you.

No timetable - at least to my knowledge - has been set for the unveiling of the new complete with cool color photos. I assure you that mine shall not be worth the wait. I intend never to look at it once we are up and running. I would advise you to do the same....

but if you must, then check out the proofs.

Ah, a boy can dream....


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