I don’t remember how we found it, but Claire and I wound up watching the movie The Grand Seduction. It’s a movie about a small fishing village that is trying to convince a young doctor to live there. We thought it was fun, and that it was a movie our parents might like.
I mentioned the name of the movie to my mom, and she said, “You know, Richard, I don’t really enjoy movies like that.”
Am I the only one seeing little covids everywhere I look? This was the tile in our very outdated bathroom, so I sent it to Oma and Opa with the caption “COVID-19”. They replied, “COVID-1957.” (The house was built in 1957.) Solid pun, Opa.
WARNING: this post contains amateur drawing of nudity.
My sister-in-law is a very talented artist. She and my other sister-in-law—also a very talented artist—wanted to practice figure drawing. They stumbled upon a Craigslist ad by someone volunteering to be a nude model. I can understand why someone would be willing to pose, sans clothing, for artists, but I was really struggling to find a motive here. (Spoiler: we never figured it out.) They asked me to tag along for a little extra security in case things got weird.
The model seemed nice, like I imagine most serial killers to be. He didn’t seem a bit deterred by our gang of three. We were not a very intimidating group, but I did expect to see some recalculation happening in his facial expressions. We met him at someone else’s house who had a studio. Not only did this guy volunteer to pose nude, but he went through the trouble of arranging a complimentary studio space.
I tried to wrap my head around the situation and asked as many questions as I could think of:
“Do you do this a lot?”
“Oh, whenever I can.”
“Are you an artist?”
“No, never had that talent.”
“Are you interested in becoming a professional model?”
“No, not really.”
Not only was he doing this for free, he was all business. It wasn’t like the guy in As Good as It Gets, where the model was confused. This guy had a full quiver of different poses at the ready. He ran us through a few warm-up sketches, followed by a longer pose. We just sat there and sketched. I suddenly realized I had wasted the opportunity by not bringing paint. I started to worry that the model would be disappointed in my professionalism or ambition—that I wasn’t as serious about my craft as he was about…his.
After apparently going through the agenda for the afternoon, we thanked him, packed up our supplies, and drove home. The sketches recently resurfaced during a move, so if anyone recognizes this guy, PLEASE ask him why he volunteers to pose nude for people. No judgement. I just want to understand.
Yesterday, we went to Cape Lookout for a Saturday hike. We were expecting it to rain, but the weather was incredible. We were walking along the edge and looking at the ocean a bazillion feet below. The kids were asking about its size relative to Bear Lake, and Claire said, “This particular ocean is the largest ocean,” and I chimed in and said, “this specific ocean…”
If you say it quickly, it sounds like “this Pacific Ocean”…get it? It is one of my better old-man jokes. Thanks for setting it up, honey.
We had been on the boat for about 10 minutes, but I had already lost hope of seeing any whales. I really like whales. Whales and octopuses (or “octopi” if you prefer) tie for first place on my list of coolest living creatures. (Have you seen this video? Or this one?)
So, in order to avoid disappointment, I was comforting myself with the fact that the boat ride was already a lot of fun. We were all standing at the front of the boat, enjoying the wind and the waves. Everyone was looking off to the right, where the most recent sighting had been.
Maybe I was wallowing a bit (I really wanted to see some whales), but I was staring down at the water in front of the boat. Suddenly, the water became slightly grey, and the grey was expanding, replacing the blue that was there before. There was a little monologue happening in my brain:
Hey, what’s that?
I think that might be a whale!
That’s a whale!!
Although my brain was screaming, I wasn’t saying a word — and no one else was either.
Suddenly, I just started yelling, “WHAAAAAAAAAALE! WHAAAALE! WHAAAALE! WHAAAAAALE!”
Noise erupted as everyone noticed the whale emerging from the water. It was so close, the boat had to slam on the brakes and quickly switch to reverse to avoid an accident.
On second thought, maybe the octopus is a close second.
When I was a kid, my brothers and sisters told me I was a baby giraffe that my mom stole from a zoo. They called me “baby long neck.” As the story went, my mom fixed all the mirrors in the house so I saw a boy when I looked.
After posting this photo on Facebook, my brother instant messaged me:
Tom: At least your pants fit in that picture
Rich: Your pants would fit too if they weren’t pulled up to your chest.