This query uttered by my octogenarian dad made us laugh once we recovered from its impropriety. Dad was the model for political correctness in the presence of others, but at home it was a different story.
His comments often made us laugh; the kind where you know it isn’t nice to laugh, but you just can’t help yourself.
Unfortunately, it is a gift that he passed on. There are some occasions when I know it is best not to sit next to my sister or even look at her. Unfortunately, I passed on the flaw to at least two of my offspring and I am still waiting results for the remaining one.
Never having the burden of being a great beauty, I didn’t figure I had much to lose as I aged. I hoped healthy and strong would satisfy as modifiers for my appearance.
This all changed when we installed one of the new video doorbells. The ancient drone I observed leaving home was a shock. Even making allowances for pandemic hair, I resembled David Crosby after a bad acid trip. Moving away from the camera, my backside resembles a ski slope – a vast ski slope.
At that moment Dad’s observation struck home but it was not a laughing matter. My bathroom mirror had withheld full disclosure of just how bad the situation is.
I decided to be positive and count my blessings, until I received my new drivers license photo, confirming and memorializing the doorbell portrait.
My mother’s innovative solution of mastering “ugly” on her driver’s license was to paste a more flattering photo i.e. younger over the state issued one.
Words come back to haunt as I was reminded, I once comforted a friend, saying older women can be considered handsome and that is not a bad thing. I would be elated to observe handsome from the video doorbell; I hadn’t planned on butt-ugly.
Dad was right; and if I listen closely, I believe I can hear him laughing.
I am a lifelong Southerner, short story author, and essayist. Home is Dallas, Texas.
My essays have appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Writing.