My wife Annie (on the left, photo by Ken Sklute) is worried about this new blog of mine. (This entry should confirm her worst fears.) You see, she knows I don’t have much of a conversational filter. I occasionally say the first thing that comes to my mind, be it reasonable or ridiculous. And of course, with a blog, what you say is what you say. It’s out there, sorta like I’m out there.
It’s a bit like public speaking. I occasionally feel for the organizers of an event or workshop when I am at the podium and they are at the back of the hall downing valiums or chugging tequila to quell the anxiety over whether I’m going to drop the f-bomb on an unsuspecting crowd.
I don’t mean to be unpredictable. It’s just that in my mildly fuzzy grasp of the day to day, I find stuff funny in an irreverent kind of way. Annie is used to this of course, seeing me at breakfast with the news up on my computer, making a series of noises only she can interpret. She has a name for one. She calls it “snortling,” which is a cross between a mild chortle and an outright snort.
She knows me real well, obviously. She can often anticipate my coming out with something completely out of bounds at a restaurant, for instance, and, smiling beatifically, quietly say, “Can we use an indoor voice, honey?”
And of course, she’s got the eyebrow. It’s amazing. Specifically, it is her left eyebrow. Now most people’s brows, along with everything else on their face, are subjected to constant, moment to moment, twitches, ticks, winks and nods, a steady flow of minute reactions to the stimuli of the day. But Annie’s left eyebrow has seemingly escaped the control of the muscles usually associated with regulating facial architecture. It has somehow gotten connected to a steam driven catapult, much like the ones they use on aircraft carriers. I always know when that brow is near her hairline, I gotta reel it back in. It’s extraordinary, and, truth be told, extraordinarily beautiful.
[More after the jump]
You see, I’m in this club. Along with a few million other guys. We are card carrying members, have a secret handshake and hand signs similar to the tap to the nose Redford and Newman used in “The Sting.” It’s a huge club cause every lumpy guy who somehow ended up with a wonderful woman in his life is continually thunderstruck by that event. You look over at her at the end of the day and scratch your head. “How exactly did I swing this?” you ask yourself.
Cause face it, most guys just recently stood upright and discovered the miracle of opposable thumbs and the world of possibilities that presents. It’s pretty cool. And being in the club really can get you through the worst of days in the field.
Like a day I had in the scintillating world of corporate photography, shooting the triumvirate of big shots running literally one of the biggest corporations on the face of the planet. Here’s the deal: One of ’em I knew was never a problem. He was amiable, rarely said anything, and you could put him just about anywhere in the photo, a bit like furniture. The main honcho (Mr. X) was also actually okay too, except for the fact he was about 5’6″, and tilted the scales at maybe 160. His number two (Mr. Y) was at least six feet and a deuce, deuce and a half.
Enter the PR folks, all vibrating like tuning forks. “Now you can make Mr. X look bigger than Mr. Y, yes???” This of course is not possible when ya gotta pose them so close they could be the cover of a romance novel.
“No,” I said, “That’s not going to happen.” And I would explain why, stopping just short of a full blown dissertation on the physical properties of matter.
One year (I went through this every year for several years, my own corporate groundhog day) their solution was to have me slip a heavy duty piece of foamcore under the muslin drop, figuring Mr. X could stand on that and Mr. Y would not.
I was like, fellas, you think they’re not going to notice this?
Sure enough, the little big man was on the foamcore and I tried to maneuver his bulky deputy into a spot off the board when he turned and said to me, “I’m not standing in a hole! F#@xk off!” and gave me the finger. Only time in my life I’ve ever been flipped the bird by the head of a major multi-national corporation.
I thought he explained himself well, so I let him stand wherever he wanted to.
Those days are just impossible, right? You’re not a miracle worker, you’re a photographer. Sheesh. You have days like that when the demands are unreasonable, and the expectations are not achievable, and they need to be delivered yesterday and you are surrounded by empty souls dressed in all sorts of Armani who figure the only way to stay afloat in their own personal sea of insecurity is to use the freelancer as a life preserver.
And it is miserable, if you let it be. But then, you smile inwardly and you look around the room. And you remember this lovely, decent, funny, smart, patient, kind, sweet, beautiful person you can’t possibly deserve is in your life.
And everybody on location is debating, and sweating, and having issues, and making demands, and…..it all goes away. None of it matters. Cause you’re in the club.
Annie, I love you. Happy Valentine’s Day……Joe