Delete that photo!

A  friend whose opinion I respect forwarded me a photo taken when I did not — shall we say — look my best. It got me thinking:  Does this require action?  Should I tighten up my reputation management?  Get a makeover?  What do geezer rockers do about this sort of thing?  Does Robert Plant worry about his hair?  Closed eyes?

Can it get any worse?  Add wrinkles!
Can it get any worse? Always!

We are well on our way in an era of visual communication.  Some people are blessed with telegenic looks and would shine climbing out of a dumpster. Does the way Nigella Lawson looks sell cookbooks?  Of course.  For the rest of us, it’s luck of the draw (or click).  Forget command and control.  I once worked with a top-ranking executive who, confronted with an unflattering photo, dispatched his minions to buy up every available copy of the trade mag in which it appeared, a feat that can never be repeated.  As for prep, the jury’s out. I recently caught myself  reaching over to sort out a no-nonsense entrepreneur’s hair (female).  She’d probably been up since 4 that morning. Working.  Personally, I think candid photography before 9 a.m. is cruel and unusual punishment.

What does our appearance say about us?  My mother, raised a Texas girl, never poured her coffee or opened a newspaper until her lipstick and hair were in place.  I can’t remember a time when she didn’t look beautiful.  Then again, I remember Hillary Clinton’s eulogy at Gov. Ann Richards’ funeral less for what she said (although it was memorable: she touched on just this subject) than that she looked exhausted — like she’d worked all night and still cared enough to show up and honor someone who’d been important to her.

As for me, I’m leaning in the direction of a well-developed sense of humor. That may be the point.

3 easy steps to cultivating your sense of the ridiculous

Okay, I’ve had it.  Fiscal cliffs, elected officials, desertification, homelessness, elephant poachers, capital gains, women’s health funds, underfunded public education, elected officials, dying newspapers, Lance Armstrong, Mopac at 5 o’clock, aging, abandoned children, cats and dogs.  It’s all too much.  Time for some silliness (if the aforementioned wasn’t the right kind).

Do the following at critical junctures of your day, while reading email, talking on the phone – or my personal favorite – after I’ve done something particularly stupid.  It costs nothing, never fails to provide perspective and can be used at home, in the office, car or plane.

You’ll find this trick rarely fails to make you feel absolutely ridiculous — which for some reason opens a world of boundless possibilities.  Here goes:

(1).  If you know a basic swing dance step, skip to the next paragraph.  If not do the following:

  • Stand feet together
  • Lift one foot (ladies, your right; gentlemen, your left).  Put it back down.  That’s Tap-Step.
  • Other foot:  Tap, Step.
  • First foot:  Step backwards and then bring the foot back in place.  That’s Rock Behind.
  • So, that’s the basic swing:  1st foot – Tap.Step.  2nd foot: Tap.Step.  First foot:  Rock Behind.

(2).  When you’re comfortable with the basic step, add a simple variation, a turn:

  • 1st foot: Tap. Step.
  • 2nd foot:  Tap. Step.
  • 1st foot:  Rock Behind BUT as you bring your foot back into place, place it perpendicular to the other foot, pivoting 1/4 turn away from your 2nd foot.  Bring the foot down in a step to pivot back around and face your (virtual partner).

(3).  Now, add music.  I prefer The Jingle Bell Rock.  It is faster-acting than other options I’ve tried, particular when it’s not December.

The Chipmunks do a fine rendition of  the classic "Jingle Bell Rock."
The Chipmunks do a fine rendition of the classic “Jingle Bell Rock.”

Use this tool with a music-playing device, device-less or device-free, depending on your attitude.  You can sing to accompany yourself.  Here are the lyrics.  Learning them also helps with memory loss.  I’m not sure about hair or weight loss, but could it hurt?

My January IP to you:  Silliness.  We’re going to need it.

p.s.  Here’s the swing in action, but caution:  Don’t allow yourself to be put in a mold. It’s the spirit of the thing.  Innovate.