The old cliche says a picture is worth a thousand words. Several weeks ago, I walked in on a small group of my neighbors - who are all wonderful people - discussing how terrible my picture looks at the top of this column.
"That picture doesn't do you justice," one said. "We think you should have another picture taken to replace that one."
What followed were many helpful suggestions. Removing my glasses sounded reasonable, but when someone mentioned "maybe airbrushing would help," the thousand words flowing through my mind weren't too flowery. To be honest, I was not upset, but I was rather amused.
I have to appreciate their candidness. In order to keep the quality thriving, I have enjoyed retelling the story to my family and friends.
My sons have teased me mercilessly. My mother agreed with my neighbors, and I received a maternal sermonette on unmasking my "natural beauty." My brother hasn't guffawed so loudly since we were kids and his G.I. Joes executed my Barbie by stringing a noose around her neck and hanging her from the tallest pine tree in the backyard.
The next day, I told the story to Jason Smith, my publisher. Without a word, Jason immediately picked up his phone and called the corporate office and asked the hours of the corporate photographer. "He takes excellent black-and-white portraits," Jason said as he hung up the phone. "And you don't need an appointment, just go anytime on Wednesday afternoons."
OK, OK, I'm a little slow, but I got the message. And I do plan to go. But, maybe I should lose 30 lbs. first ... or have plastic surgery. After all, no matter how good he is, Mr. Corporate's Finest is just a photographer, he's not a magician.
Then the flip side came. This week at the Dearing Town Council meeting, a new subscriber, Judy Reeves, smiled broadly at me. "I just saw your column in the paper, the one with the picture of you. It looked so good," she said.
After offering my thanks, I turned and saw Mr. WTHO himself. Mike Wall covers all the same news events that I cover, except he doesn't ever bring a camera. Here was the perfect solution - a career in radio.
Last week, I heard Mike on the radio, recapping the top stories of 2006. Mike credited The McDuffie Mirror for the stories he used. The Mirror and WTHO have a great working relationship.
I enjoy it every time I find myself in the presence of Mike or his wife, Sharon, or daughter, Mariah. I've sat through many not-so-interesting meetings listening to Mike mutter his comical commentary under his breath. It amuses me. Reminds me of my neighbors.