Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Mirrors, mirrors, on the walls
I dreamed last night of a world where all mankind was free of time’s tyranny, an age when leisure reigned and all were at liberty to engage in endless recreation and cerebral improvement.
And today I’m going to help launch that age by embarking on a mirror-smashing crusade.
Any ensuing bad luck will be offset by usefully harvesting all the time now wasted judgmentally staring into mirrors.
We as a society are obsessed with appearance and mirrors are to blame. They are everywhere.
Even utilitarian mirrors installed for safety purposes become detriments to it. How many fender-benders are caused by distracted motorists using review mirrors to ensure their lips still have that pouty appeal?
I’ve become intensely more aware of mirrors, the time I spend gazing into them and how they ruin my day because I recently purchased a protective mirror skin for my smart phone.
I vainly thought it might come in handy if I was ever about to enter an important meeting with an authority figure and needed to ensure nothing repulsive was dangling from my oversized right nostril.
This was foolish on multiple levels. First of all, few of us are ever more than 10 feet from a handy mirror. Many rooms have vanity mirrors installed in places where great art ought to hang.
Second, I haven’t had an important meeting with an authority figure since I was summoned from detention to the high school principal for interrogation over who yanked the fire alarm the morning of spring finals (no, I didn’t crack).
But I thought, yeah, maybe a little mirror would be useful.
Instead of being useful, it is an ever-offensive reminder that my appearance has become ever offensive. It’s like having a pocket-sized judgmental twin always staring at me and mocking all my facial flaws as he sits on my desk.
First of all, the human face, especially an aging one, is inherently repugnant and should not be studied in places with adequate lighting from any vantage point inside of 10 feet.
At arm’s length, my face is a mottled moonscape of gaping pores, festering moles, old hockey scars, and a blooming nasal field of wine-colored surface capillaries. The teeth are a jagged horror show uniformly screened in shades of yellow, pale and gray.
It is utterly repellent. And hold on a sec while I check . . .
Yep, I still consider my face damned handsome.
Still, I spend a lot of time throughout each and every day looking in mirrors for reasons I cannot explain, knowing each time it will only depress me. It’s not like my face is going to look better when I check it 10 minutes from now.
No, time and gravity will continue to ravage me with its claws. There’s no chance my face is going to look better in five years than it does today, which is a hell of a lot worse than it looked five, 10, 20 years ago.
I think in time we’ll come to a consensus that authentic mirrors are harmful to our mental well-being. Perhaps, some genius is right now working on a mirror that will individually show us -- not as we are -- but as what we once were.
We can program the mirror to mimic our movements while projecting images of us from how we looked back when we were all young and fresh.
Until that day, I argue we should replace each and every mirror with things like still-life paintings of bowls of fruits and cheeses.
That way if we wanted to achieve our goals of looking at something beautiful, we’d see works of art instead of, ugh, close-ups of all our miserable faces.
And I apologize for this exercise in harsh self-indulgence.
The thoughts expressed here, I’m sure, do not reflect well on me.
Just like so many mirrors.