Portrait of an Artist as a Weird Man: The Death of Vanity

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For those of you new to my blog (welcome:). This is part of a series that I do, chronicling the doodles that my sons draw of me.

I hate to admit it, but I’m vain. I want to be good looking. Sure, I look like every other white, bald, middle-aged man with glasses, but I do not imagine myself to be as frightening as–well, as my son’s latest rendition of me. Now, you may not believe it, but I do not solicit these drawings–I’m not trying to pile on the pain that has already occurred via my sons’ pencils. Yet, each time the boys draw me, I am hopeful. Not anymore. This picture is ghastly.


The other day, I asked Owen to take a break from TV. He thought of his options, and then said “Oh, I know. I’ll draw you ‘Owen style.'” I fell for it. I actually thought this meant “cool”. When he ran in to show me the picture, I threw up a little in my mouth. The egg head. The weird tufts of hair. A frigging bow tie–he’s never seen me in a tie, let alone a bow tie. And the mouth. I looked like the saddest, most pathetic person on the planet. (I looked like the person who just found out that they look like this!!)

“Here you go, Dad!”

“Whoa!” Swallow throw up. “This is Owen style, huh? That’s interesting, buddy.” I guess Owen style means draw a caricature of my dad where his inner fears are all manifested on the outside. I have to say, I did like that he gave me some muscles–even if they were bulging out of a green blazer that wouldn’t have fit me when I was his age.

But, this picture served as another reminder–my concern for my looks is futile. My vanity is in vain.

The death knell of vanity rang again a few days after Owen’s latest masterpiece. One of my new freshman classes was starting to feel comfortable with me–maybe too comfortable. During a break in the lesson, one of the girls says, “You look like someone…” Whenever I hear these words, I cringe. It is NEVER good. She continues. “You look like the guy from the movie UP,” she blurts out. “The boy scout?” I ask, willing to take the insult if it makes me appear thirty years younger. “No, the old man–like, a younger version of the old man,” she clarifies, as if it will Pixar-Disney-Company-Up-moviemake a difference to me. Oh, I look like the senior citizen, the grumpy septuagenarian. I just smile, nod, and stagger towards the podium, trying to remain composed and continue with the lesson. “No!” a shout is heard from the other side of the room–this time a boy. “I finally realize who you look like.” He points at me, not in a mean way, but in a way that emphasizes his satisfaction of solving the mystery. “You look like. . .THE GRINCH.” I kid you not readers. The Grinch. “Yeah, I do look like the Grinch,” I say. Dadicus Grinch.

RIP Vanity.


  1. Please, sir, keep writing.

    I usually get, along with the big glasses, big hair, and big [body parts], with the sincerest surprise, “You’re older than my grandma!”



  2. harsh stuff… rebuttal is needed: you should of told the kids in the class that they all looked like the little fat kid in UP… and see how they liked them apples… as for your kids…. do a drawing of yourself and show them how you see yourself… they’re such sponges that eventually it’ll rub off and onto another piece of paper…


  3. At least he drew you with some amazing muscles, unfortunately that came with Popeye-like forearms, standing in a very awkward ballerina pose. I think the expression has to do with you standing on your toes, which has to be painful and extremely uncomfortable.

    Yes RIP.


  4. Save the pictures. They may be worth some money in years to come and you can use it to pay for a good therapist. I can actually hear you talking in my head and it makes me smile. Your family is so lucky to have you.


  5. Oh my… I may have one to top your students comments. A ninth grade girl just had her hair colored and it came out too dark for her liking. She was trying to explain the color and in all innocence said to me, ” It was your color, like poop, you know.” *sigh* And I paid good money for my poopy hair…..


  6. Great post! I read to five and six-year-olds at our local primary school, and although they haven’t drawn pictures of me (yet) they are fascinated with the veins on the backs of my claw-like hands. They play with them like they were some kind of new smartphone app.—-“Angry Veins” maybe? Enjoy those adorable boys of yours. They grow up way too fast. Trust me…


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