Photographs catalog my existence. They chronicle a life spent for a good time in braces, in younger years on my legs and later more visibly my teeth. A chin that held its own against a growing body, remaining to date the most characteristic of my features. A smoking habit picked up in late high school that creeps up more than I'd like in recent party photos. I save them all. I save most of them.
Like children in a fourth-grade play, a handful of these pictures are stand outs. And trite as they are, we all remember the ones with an awful haircut that we may or may not have confessed to giving ourselves, the shots that are just that funny. You've moved on, and thank God and Oprah and your stylist that your tresses are no longer tamed in quite the same way. These and their embarrassing counterparts never fail to entertain well, particularly at parties with bulbous Pinot glasses and a friend or two who knew you when. And 4x6s of failed relationships? The Wrestler who stared at himself in the shiny appliances. The Epidemiology Ph.D who gambled online. The Butcher who . . . cut up animals. Reflection hardly gets better than that. Especially when you're standing next to said reflection on Kodak paper.
I have those same memories chronicled on this site. And for some reason, there are many I want to rip from the album. Lately I reread entries in my archives and want to delete with Blogger's blessing those posts that make me cringe at their inane content or grammatical errors or, more likely, their insight into some part of my life that begs me to hide in one of those poorly-constructed child forts, made of Strawberry Shortcake sheets that wouldn't in a million years deter the opponent. These are the entries that verbally capture me crying in a corner or using a word that does not exist in this or any language. It's me at my weakest, and my least charming and entertaining. Somehow again I'm in 7th grade with an awful bob and a retainer that was molded the day prior, only this time I'm on stage with a dimmed auditorium spotlight attempting to close in.
I picture more and more of you, at your work desks, at your computers when the kids are in bed, reading about my relationship demise or my mother's stalwart silence, innocently looking through pages of a large scrapbook when I left it out on the coffee table before going to bed. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I'll look back at some of these snapshots and I won't be laughing. Or will I?
Regardless. Somehow I can't bring myself to remove them from the album.