Friday, November 16, 2007

It's Good to Figure Things Out

It's good to figure things out. If you plug away, and time is on your side, you eventually figure everything out. Then you're like Elrond, or something, and all you can think about is not missing the last boat out of the Gray Havens.

I figured something out tonight. But before we get to that, the briefest of asides: I remember cutting out a photograph of Kate Moss from a magazine. Full page, full face, straight on, maybe from W (do you read W? great magazine). I took it to my daughter, who was then a teenager and concerned, in the overly self-critical way that teenagers are, with every facet of her appearance, and calmly explained just what, from a purely objective standpoint, a total wreck Kate Moss's face really is. One ear is higher than the other. Her nose juts off to the side. Her eyes are slightly different (Picasso made a point of rendering each eye differently--when he decided to give his subjects the full complement) in size. Blah, blah, blah.

The point is that if one of the most beautiful women in the world is, in reality, a bundle of anatomical screw-ups, then there's hope for us all. Remind me to tell you about my nose sometime.

Anyway, I remember thinking that the message was lost on her. But you can't fight the teen years. They're like the riptides that one would occasionally find oneself in if you grew up swimming in the Jersey ocean. You just ride them out, then swim laterally for a while, trying not to focus too much on your irrational fear of being eaten from below by a shark (this might be unique to me), and then swim back in. The parental hope was that, somewhere in the back of her mind, the message of self-acceptance would stick. That just because you can't be perfect doesn't mean you can't be perfectly beautiful. Likewise perfectly wonderful.

The curse of the portraitist? You spend an inappropriate amount of time analyzing people's faces. And so, just tonight, I'm pleased to announce that I have figured Meredith Grey's face out. The secret: the left side of her face (the right side if you are looking at a picture of her) is dramatically wider than her right. By about a third. I mean, it's obvious. I can't believe I missed it.

Two things jump to mind: a) maybe she has a medical condition, and b) regarding the cars that run in the NASCAR series--if you look at them along a front/back axis, it's almost impossible to find anything on the left side that is symmetrical with the right.

And there's a lesson in there. Because NASCARs (if that's the term) are astonishingly beautiful machines.

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