I might have been complaining yesterday about how limited my life has become with broken ribs, to the point Molly had enough.
“What can’t you do now?” she demanded. “What?”
To tell the truth, I had to think before I could reply. I’ve improved a great deal. I no longer flinch and scream when people draw near, which is handy when you’re out about in the mall. I can drive if I don’t have to back up very often. Yesterday I managed 24 hours without any pain meds whatsoever. So it took a few moments, but eventually, I settled on an obvious choice:
“Push-ups. I was mere months away from doing one-armed push-ups. Now this is all I can manage.”
I put my palm on the table and flexed my fingers, making the universal childhood motion for a five-legged spider’s calisthenics.
Molly might have rolled her eyes.
But I’m proud of her. In tones displaying her two years of nursing-school experience, she challenged me to view my life through a different lens. Didn’t I have a fresh appreciation for my mortality? Didn’t I have a sense of a ticking clock? I could use this to seize the day and plow through the fears that held me back from being my best Jan. Carpe the diem, and all that. Done right, all who have known me before and after The Great Crunch would marvel at my transformation.
She’s good, you know? Inspiring. As she spoke, I could see a vast future unspooling before me. There would be the speaking engagements, and a regular spot on CNN. Then the book deals. They’d call me the female Tony Robbins and I’d stride around on a stage, pumping up millions of people in my slim and vigorous body.
I’d forgo the power suit, of course, because wool makes me itch, and the signet ring wouldn’t work, because I’ve never got the hang of jewelry. (In any case I’d prefer something less chunky.) Then, too, I’d have to hire extra security to keep people off my deck, lest they seek to achieve their own skeletal damage at the wellspring of my change, but the advantages were compelling.
What were mere push-ups compared to these?
That got me thinking about getting a new avatar, to demonstrate my intent. Armed with my iPhone and Instagram, I had fun taking these:
Not bad, huh? At least I thought they were okay until Molly saw them. I’m informed she likes my eyes, but I look pissed-off in all of them. This, in spite of the fact I used every trick I know to relax in front of the camera: laughing uproariously seconds before I took the shot, curling my toes in my shoes, which supposedly recreates the same chemical reaction in the toe-curler as when in the throes of an orgasm. (Apparently I’m using the wrong shoes.)
I must have betrayed my dismay, because Molly said, “Don’t worry, Mom. I look like that too. It has to be genetic.”
Now she’s got me wondering. All those years in family medicine—all those times I was in a compassionate space, when I thought I wore an expression that invited confidences—all those times I thought I was signalling an implicit “trust me” to my patients, were they reading it as “fuck you”?
What are your tricks for obtaining good photos?