May 18, 2009

The Church Directory Picture

Being married to a most photogenic man is simply annoying. At our wedding, the photographer took more than 150 shots. Every one of Husband showed his sparkling blue eyes and radiant crooked smile. There was one good shot of me, awkwardly getting out of the backseat of the rental car. (We had no money, and there’s no glory in renting a 1974 Dodge. As the best man and maid of honor drove us through my small hometown, the horn ceased working. Isn’t the horn the most important function for the post-ceremony drive?)

Last Tuesday night we posed for our church directory picture. The loquacious photographer kept telling Husband, “What a lucky man you are!” We had to wait for the photo preview after the photo setting, and we heard him tell at least three more men the same thing. Whether their wives looked like Halle Berry or Broderick Crawford, same story.

Finally the Sales Pitch man took us into the Sales Pitch room. The walls and table were completely covered with framed pictures of happy, smiling families. Maybe there’s something wrong with me but I don’t want a picture of Husband and me at this stage in life. Husband has put on a few pounds since college and his hair might be a bit thinner, but he still has the same sparkling blue eyes and radiant crooked smile. (When I look at him I see George Clooney -- love, after all, is blind.)

As for me, I’ve gained weight and have a chinny chin chin, rather several chinny chin chins. Two-inch hairs often grow from the middle of my cheek, and of course one leapt forth right before the photo session. I’ve stopped coloring my hair so I’m now “distinguished salt and pepper” (in real language, this means older than dirt.) While at the time, choosing the stylist Vera Bradley frames seemed a good idea. But now they appear from Kremlin Collection of 1963, with those heavy-duty glasses accented with my eyebrows. I’m presently a candidate for the Soviet leadership team. And due to childhood weeks at Lake Wawasee, there are age spots in the shape of European countries. And the chest – well, to be somewhat delicate here – it is south of where it used to be. Are you getting the picture?

Do we want to buy this picture? Of course not. We just want to be in the church directory. Meanwhile the Sales Pitch man continues his spiel – a 16 x 20 in a gold-leafed frame with photo painted on a special canvas. Would look great in our Son’s dorm room, dontcha think?

We had to tell the Sales Pitch man we were only interested in the free 8 by 10. We weren’t even interested in that, but didn’t have the heart to tell him. We just wanted to be in the church directory.

He pleaded, “Well, that photo is ABSOLUTELY FREE. There is no additional cost; however, if you want the touch-up, it’s only $29.95.” Then he showed us two pictures. Each is of the same woman, but the unretouched photograph shows wrinkles, age spots, discolorations, eye bags. The woman looked as wretched as a Disney cartoon witch. In the retouched photograph, she was beautiful, even glowing. All for $29.95.

Both of us had the feeling that the Sales Pitch man really wanted us to do the retouching. Would he offer, as Husband said, the little known “mercy clause” and give it to us for free? He did not, we walked. Prepare for a Christmas card picture of George Clooney and the Soviet leader. Quoth the raven.