Sunday, January 12, 2014

Larger-than-life wife

What the heck was he talking about?

"That's a pretty nice poster picture of you," he said (more or less) to my wife after we bumped into him at the grocery store.

Poster picture? Wha...?

So we nodded with smiles that suggested that we knew what he was talking about and moved on, but with huge question marks dangling over our heads.

"What poster picture?" said Kim as we checked out our groceries.

"What poster picture?" she asked again as we hopped in the car to head home, unable to let go. "What's he talking about?"

My mind was spinning. Poster picture? I can't imagine. Then a thought occurred to me.

"Let's go home by way of the Square," I said.

Kim is second from the right. Oh, the horrors...
 There's a billboard hanging on the side of Perfect Blend, the coffee shop on the southeast corner of the Square hard against Center Street. It almost always features local businesses, changing its face every couple of months or so. It's a great location to advertise because nearly every one who comes through Lexington has a chance to see it.

This time, it was a group picture of Parrott Insurance & Benefits, where my wife works. And there, on the billboard, was the complete staff of agents, along with the office coordinator, who happens to be my wife, Kim. They are lined up in a head-and-shoulder shot, probably eight-to-10 feet tall. Larger than life.

"Oh my gosh," moaned Kim as we drove by. "That's the absolute worst picture of me that was ever taken."

Oddly, Kim doesn't like most things about herself. She's a great cook but she doesn't like to eat what she fixes. She doesn't like her smile, which to me is unusually attractive. To hear her tell it, her hair is never right, although it's a gorgeous strawberry blonde. And maybe one out of every 1,000 pictures she makes suits her.

Sheesh. What possessed me to marry such a derelict?

"You look fine," I said, already knowing I was fighting a losing battle. Wisely, I put up only token resistance here. Even when I know I'm in an unwinnable argument, it's best that at least I appear to make a fight of it, pointing out stuff I suspect she wants to hear even though she'll disagree with it.

"Don't tell me how I look," she said. "I know how I look and I look horrible."

Sigh. See what I mean?

I think mostly she doesn't like being in the focus of attention. I can relate to that. I spent 30 years as a sports writer/editor for The Dispatch, and every Wednesday, when I wrote my column, my mug shot accompanied it. I figure 10,000-12,000 people — our circulation back then — probably saw that picture, which partially explains why even to this day, more than seven years retired, people who are complete strangers to me smile and wave at me like I'm a long-lost war buddy.

But I never had my picture on the Square, eight feet tall and larger than life.

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