by Mike Pyatt
Political races reveal the best and worst of the human condition. With the advent of television and 24/7 media access to politics, there’s an inordinate focus on presidential campaigns, and external glitz. It started with the Nixon Kennedy debate. The 2016 presidential race is no exception. Hillary’s medical background, has drawn comments from medical experts, political pundits, and novice alike. Both Trump and Clinton’s handlers make every attempt to enhance their candidate’s public persona. Trump acknowledged on Dr. Oz, “I would like to lose ten to fifteen pounds.” It’s Hillary’s pant suits and fainting.
Readers may recall those zany mirrors found at carnivals or fairs, that distorted our image, causing us to appear either very thin and elongated, or wide as a barn and thickset. Fortunately, we knew it wasn’t as we actually looked-merely a “trick of the mirror.” It was just for fun.
Consider this reality; we cannot see our face. With the possible exception of staring down either side of our proboscis, depending on the size, absent the aid of a mirror or similar object that casts a reflection, we’re limited to view the frontal part of our body, and a small portion of the backside of our limbs. Not our face. We must rely on a mirror, or someone else to describe our visage, or what they think we “look like,” albeit in a facile manner. A quick survey at our own hand can only estimate the curve of our face, the soft or rough lines of our cheek or brow, or plumb the depth of the inset of our eye socket, for example. Such a facial scan is an incomplete picture.
Most can relate to a slightly myopic friend, who insists every time one reunites, a familiar refrain, “You haven’t changed since high school.” Such a comment sounds like insincere flattery. That assessment compels one to compare a vintage graduation photo to a mirror. That mirror screams back loudly. The unvarnished truth is now revealed. Such flattery surely meant that those who knew us back then, most likely recognized us from our basic features that haven’t changed drastically over the years. Future reunions will test that theory.
For those who’ve resisted “wrinkle removers,” “face lifts,” Botox, or laser surgery that promote that elusive “fountain of youth” look, know it’s nothing more than a “quick fix” or worse, over time. To test such skepticism, apply one of those magic elixirs to a raisin, and see what happens. Some Tinsel Town stars, male and female, have had so many lifts their knees are now on the back of their necks.
Genetics play an irreversible role in our predominant endomorphic, ectomorphic, or mesomorphic physique. For the most part, we will drag that basic frame to the grave. For male counterparts who are members of the “bald eagle club” know that the paucity of hair is primarily the work of genetics. For an aging few, though their cranial crop is graying, or thinning, with minor revisions, the original version is intact. No bragging rights. Just thankful. Some still use hair gel, while others have opted for a “mop n’ glow” look. It’s unlikely that many covet baldness. However, most are less inclined to wear a hair-piece that’s about as undetectable as a three year old in a candy store.
Gravity will have its way with us sooner or later. It’s a matter of time. For those inclined to remodel the “old kisser,” most everything below the neck line slipped long ago. In comparing the two, it’s a confusing picture to any on-looker. “No Speedos, please!” Thongs should only be for the feet. Fatuity surely drives such sophomoric, desperate behavior.
Vanity infects the entire race. The onset of pubescence prompts a legitimate “self-consciousness,” that’s simultaneously fueled by inordinate social pressure to magnify the external, and subsequent delusion of self-aggrandizement. It’s a reminder of an old bromide, “Once one falls in love with self, one never finds their equal.” Adults obsequiously compensate for the aging process in various forms with equanimity. Some pursue an almost obsessive work-out regimen to mitigate the ravenous effects on the aging body. Others turn to frippery. There’s nothing sadder than an aging person of either gender, dressing like their offspring. Compensation masquerades itself in unexpected ways. Our cherubic stature as a child, understandably looses its appeal in late adulthood.
Although it’s easily obscured, we’ve known intuitively for years that it’s the “inner person” that matters. In the “winter years” of life, we’re compelled to come to grips with that truth. That skimpy cheerleader outfit of yesteryear no longer fits, even with spandex, and his reputation as a “hunk” has morphed into a “chunk.” Some now have more chins than a Chinese telephone book. We capitulate to the mirror. Were engulfed by the inward.
We needn’t loose heart. Evangelicals know 2 Corinthians 4:16, encourages us with the reality that even though this “earthen vessel” begins to crumble, for which we strive desperately to halt this inevitability, we’re remiss to ignore the good news that the “inner self” is renewed day-by-day. The mirror isn’t our enemy. It reveals the truth. It’s alright to glance, but dwell not on what we see in that reflection. C.S. Lewis reasoned, “We were made not for the temporal, but eternal value.” The battle to uphold “permanent things” has no surcease.
Looking one’s best is a admirable trait. That trait has fallen on hard times. When’s the last time you attended a wedding or funeral? Sandals, coveralls, nose rings, bare midriff and tattooed visage. Get the drift? The line betwixt looking “one’s best” and “trying to fool the mirror” is a fine one indeed. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” That famous phrase uttered by the furious, wicked, witch in the 1812, Brothers Grimm, “Snow White,” is a question best left to the witch. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt is a Natrona County, WY resident. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org