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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

Midlife Crisis: The Photo Shoot

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer’s perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

Heeeeeere we go. I heaved a long, slow sigh, and let it all hang out. No turning back now, though I could feel my face turning red as I inhaled. “How ’bout... wearing Mickey Mouse ears, a bandana, with a set of fuzzy dice... and, oh, with a Howdy Doody lunch box?”

This essay is available in its entirety to all visitors. Enjoy!

Did’ja ever wonder how they create those fabulous graphic images for magazine and book covers? Ya’ know... the penguins walking wing-in-wing in the snow:

And getting ready to slam the cymbals atop a polar bear:

The guy flying solo with a jetpack:

An airplane positioned perfectly in front of the moon:

And that fabulous photograph of the first rocket ship landing on the moon:

How do they do all that?

How do they do it?

Honestly, I haven’t a clue.

But I know that some authors/publishers spend a kajillion dollars for a professional graphic artist to create the perfect cover image. Well, the option on that is easy for me; I do not have a kajillion dollars. So whatever I do, I have to do myself.

I am not an expert with graphics software. But I can do some clever things. The hard part for me was coming up with the perfect image that epitomizes midlife crisis: midlife crisis in a single picture.

Hmmmmmmmm...

I donno; I searched the Internet for ideas. Nothin’; absolutely nothing worthwhile. So I closed my eyes for about eight hours, hoping for inspiration.

I decided that I needed, as a centerpiece, something that represents the dreams of a middle-aged boomer, mixed with a fond memory from a boomer’s childhood. My answer: A Harley-Davidson, fuzzy dice, and a set of Mickey Mouse ears.

I had none of those in my toy box. So off I skipped to the nearby Disney store in the mall. In my cutest, most sincere, little-boy voice, I asked, “Excuse me, ma’am; do you carry grown-up, adult Mickey Mouse ears?”

Well... the tall, brawny, young, female salesclerk pinched my left earlobe, dragged me briskly to the front of the store, pointed to the door, and said, “And don’t come back, you hippie freak!”

Perhaps that was not the first time that has happened to her.

Thoroughly humiliated, I slithered back to my car.

Fortunately, the online Disney web store was far more sympathetic. Twenty bucks and five days later, I had my grown-up, adult Mickey Mouse ears. It took all my grown-up restraint to keep from wearing them at the mall, and giving the raspberry (aka, the Bronx cheer) to the insolent sales twerp.

But... I had more important things to do.

The fuzzy dice was easier. You can buy them online by the dozen. I now have several dozen on hand. Oh, and I also had a Howdy Doody lunch box that my sister had given me a while back, during my midlife crisis.

The Harley was a horse of a different color. Oh, I had a motor scooter when I was a kid.

Motorized two-wheelers were old hat to me. I even drove one when I was in Key West recently.

But I had no access to the super Harley-Davidson that I had in mind.

So, I drove to the local Harley-Davidson dealer, planning to ask for a very strange favor. Gees, they had a bunch of them in the showroom.

I decided that, to “grease the skids,” I should buy something before I asked my favor. How ’bout a neat Harley Davidson jacket?

Four hundred fifty dollars!

I don’t think so!!

Perhaps something more modest; a nice shirt, maybe?

Still too steep for me. OK; I settled for a $20 T-shirt. As I smiled and paid for my shirt, I summoned all the courage I had within me and asked the friendly sales clerk (whose name I later learned was Donna). “Have you ever had someone come in and ask you to take a picture of them on a Harley, dressed in.... in a highly unusual manner?”

“Oh, sure,” she replied. “All the time. No problem.”

Building up to my real intentions, I continued. “No; I mean something really, really out there?”

“What do you have in mind?” She was somewhat hesitant, but seemed intrigued.

Heeeeeere we go. I heaved a long, slow sigh, and let it all hang out. No turning back now, though I could feel my face turning red as I inhaled. “How ’bout... wearing Mickey Mouse ears, a bandana, with a set of fuzzy dice... and, oh, with a Howdy Doody lunch box?”

Prolonged, embarrassing pause.

Stunned, she didn’t know what to say. But, eyes wide open, she slowly nodded her head. “Bring it on.”

(I think she thought I was just kidding, since I was not, at that time, fully dressed for the photo shoot. I mean; who would really do something that bizarre?)

Whew! The hard part was over for me. Revealing what I had envisioned to a total stranger and asking her to participate was the hard part. Once she opened the door, it was all downhill from there.

So I went outside to my car, got in costume, and pranced back into the store – looking as much like a seasoned biker as anyone wearing Mickey Mouse ears could. Strangely, nobody seemed to notice.

I had this thing all planned in advance. I had her take a series of pictures in different positions. As I was posing, a small crowd gathered ’round. I was on stage. I loved it!

(Honestly... I am a sane, mature, adult male. What was I thinking?)

I even got Donna to pose for a picture for me. (Mouse ears for her were optional. She maturely declined.)

When I finished, smiled and said, “Cut; that’s a wrap,” several people applauded.

Mission accomplished.

Then it was into the electronic dark room to select a photo and make it sparkle for the book cover.

And we’re done!

Just another day in paradise for this aging but ageless, cockeyed exhibitionist boomer.

Ain’t life great!

You can purchase the e-book, “Midlife Crisis: A Cockeyed, yet Painfully and Descriptively Accurate, while nonetheless Pleasantly Humorous Examination of and Upbeat Treatment for One of Mother Nature's Little Practical Jokes,here.

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