After a while, you get tired of looking at your own face. For me it was after the third photo.
We’re down to it, getting “Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter,” ready to meet the public. One of the tasks still on the list was “take an author photo.”
We went to the local park this morning with a change of wardrobe and Tori started taking pictures. I have new respect for the contestants on “America’s Next Top Model,” because that gets really old, really fast. Tori. on the other hand, loved it.
“Work it! Work it! Now look over my shoulder! Smile! Now serious! Work it!” I couldn’t blame her. She was trying to get the perfect picture, and she had this to work with.
We got home and started sorting through 251 pictures. Culled it to the Top 10, or as I thought of them, the ten that made me feel the least ridiculous. After a while it was like that wasn’t even my face. I couldn’t recognize the person in the picture. It was a little creepy.
Got the ten down to four. Then Tori began touching them up, getting rid of lines and blotches that I couldn’t even see. At one point she asked, “Do you want me to fix your neck?” There’s a true story about my neck which I’ll tell at the end of this. Anyway, I said, “Fix whatever you think you need to fix.” She sighed and said, “I’m going to be here for a while, I guess.”
We finally got them down to the last two, the two posted on this story. You can see a larger version of the image by clicking on it. Tell us what you think. Just don’t ask me to look at the pictures again.
And now about my neck.
It was 2004 or 2005, I’m not certain. Figuring it out would involve crossing the room and finding the book on the shelf and … no. It was 2004 or 2005. Mark – my partner in the pirate world, the friend with whom I co-created International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Cap’n Slappy – Mark and I had just self-published our first book – “Well Blow Me Down – A Guy’s Guide to Talking Like a Pirate,” and were in San Francisco for our very first book reading/signing event.
We performed for a modest crowd, 50 to 70 people, if memory serves, and were set up to sign as many books as people wanted to purchase. Sales were a little lower than I’d hoped, but still in double digits. The event was winding down and we had to drive to Vegas that night. (Long, strange story there, but not right now.)
One woman wanted to talk. And talk. She was an older woman, either in great shape for 80 or really showing her age at 60, you know what I mean? And she didn’t talk. She brayed. She had a loud voice with an edge on it, a real Jersey kind of accent. She kept talking, and I didn’t want to cut her off because there was still a chance she’d buy a book. In the course of the conversation I mentioned my six children.
“You don’t have six children,” she said, not as a question but as a statement of fact, daring me to dispute her.
“Yes I do. Of course I do.” And I reeled off their names.
You couldn’t have six children,” she insisted. “You’re too young.”
“I’m 49 years old.”
“No you’re not. You couldn’t possibly be.”
“I am, I promise you. Why would I lie about that?”
“You aren’t old enough,” she repeated. “Look at that face. You have a baby face.”
Then she peered in, and suddenly said. “Ooooohhh!”
As if it was my fault, as if she’d just “caught me,” she said, “You’ve got a young face but an old neck.”
And she turned and left. Without buying a book.
And that’s what Tori was talking about when she offered to “touch up” my neck.