My face photographs one of two ways: REALLY good. Or REALLY bad. Take my driver’s license photo, for instance. Now that is one hot mama. The problem is, she doesn’t look much like me and people tend to notice.
The last time I boarded a plane, it was early in the morning, my hair was pulled back in a ponytail and I wasn’t wearing any makeup. A walking zombie with Starbucks breath, I handed my driver’s license to the TSA agent, along with an apology.
“Sorry I don’t look like my picture,” I said. “But that’s me in the photo, I promise.”
I shook out my hair and puckered my lips. She laughed and let me pass through the gate.
“I can’t believe you did that,” my husband said and groaned.
“C’mon, Mark. Where’s your sense of humor?”
He certainly had one on our last big family vacation. That trip included a cruise ship “formal night” — complete with professionally-taken portraits.
In one picture, I look lovely. In the other, I look deranged. Mark looks like a nice guy in both pictures, which is to say, he looks like himself.
Looking back, I know exactly when the deranged photo was taken. I felt my face twitch — a reaction to holding a fake smile too long — and at that exact moment, my eyes rebelled and rolled up in my head.
You would think the photographer wouldn’t have printed the deranged photo. But alas, you would think wrong. He not only printed it but he put it on display, alongside all the other photos the cruise line wanted passengers to buy.
“Lovely Michelle” and her counterpart “Deranged Michelle” were positioned side by side.
They did not go unnoticed.
“Now that is hilarious!” one female passenger said, pointing to the portraits.
“You can’t believe it’s the same person,” another lady said. “Do you think they were photoshopped?”
True to my chameleon-like nature, I walked right past these hecklers without being recognized.
Neither portrait looked much like me. Still, I purchased “Lovely Michelle” with plans of framing her as soon as I got home. Little did I know, “Deranged Michelle” would be joining us.
With the help of his “nice guy” father, my son, Sam, bought “Deranged Michelle” and sneaked her off the boat. He kept her hidden ’til we got to the airport.
“Sorry, Mom,” Sam said, pulling “Deranged Michelle” out from under his T-shirt. “But this is the stuff legends are made of. We need to pull this out every Halloween. You couldn’t look crazier if you tried.”
I could. But that’s another story.
This one ends with “Lovely Michelle” sitting framed in her husband’s law office and “Deranged Michelle” tucked inside a folder at the bottom of a junk drawer. I dig her out around this time every year much to my family’s delight.
If there is space in the paper, you may just see her today. If not, you should catch me early one morning, maybe boarding a plane. Ask any TSA agent. The resemblance is uncanny.