Thursday, May 17, 2012

The World's Greatest Chest Model

No one, and I mean no one, has tried harder to get his picture in any publication more than I have, yet, I never appear anywhere. I am tempted to get a billboard that says, “Appearing Nightly in a Trailer Park in Jessup, the One, the Only …”

I am beginning to feel like Jeannie. She could not be photographed, so a mannequin stood in for her when she married Major Anthony Nelson.

There are those people whose pictures appear all the time in the newspaper, magazines, local flyers, etc. No matter where they go, a photographer is always present. We have a local rag called MW (Metropolitan Weekly). Every week, they have a spread of pictures showing who was at this A-list event and that A-list event – with everyone dressed in tuxes and holding cocktails. Every week, I see the same goddamn faces. I can actually document how people have aged since I moved to the area fifteen years ago. Some, not so well. There is one person who has had a sex change, and I have watched the transformation totally in the pages of MW.

Since I don’t go to or get invited to A-list events, I have no chance in hell of appearing in MW’s weekly spread.

Every year after Capital Pride, they have spreads in MW’s print and online versions of every picture they took during the parade and at the festival. Since moving here, I have participated in the Pride Parade on a float six times, and I walked between two antique cars handing out beads two years ago. I participated in the festival in one way or another for the first twelve years I lived here. Photographers would come around and take my picture, but get this. Whatever pictures were taken of me were never posted or published!

No pictures of our entire Straight Eights Car Club contingent were published! I take full responsibility. Had I not participated in the parade …

When I was in my twenties, I was constantly told I should be a model. I never pursued modeling because my portfolio would have been all blank pages. Maybe I could have been a ghost model?

My brother appears in the newspaper all the time in ads and in spreads about his business.

I must confess that I did appear in the newspaper a long, long time ago in a land far, far away. The summer of 1969, a reporter and photographer from The Daily Press, both of whom were friends of my mother’s, came to our house to take pictures of me and interview my mother about my beginning first grade that fall. I appeared in a two-page spread with a girl who was also in my class. The first day of school, Mrs. Diggs (the greatest first grade teacher of all time) put the newspaper spreads on the bulletin board for everyone to see. I was so proud.

But, my mother must have made a deal with the devil because that would be the last time anyone would publish my picture.

Once when appearing in a musical review, a photographer and reporter were sent to cover the rehearsals. The director decided that the three of us who were performing “Money” from Cabaret should be the subject of the photo spread. There I stood with these two women on either side of me. All of us were in long sleeve black tops with gold coins sewn onto our costumes. I was finally going to appear in the newspaper.

I was so excited when someone called to tell me that the article and picture were published the following day. I immediately opened my paper, and what did I see? The two women who were in the number with me; their faces were in front of a black backdrop with coins sewn onto the fabric. That backdrop was my chest. My head was cropped from the picture. Seriously!

I was so mad because those two women were the most annoying prima donnas I had ever met.

Whom does a Jew have to blow around here to get one goddamn picture in the newspaper?

A few years after I moved to Washington, DC, I was on the board of Bet Mishpachah, and with my good friend, Ellen, we planned the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the synagogue. A reporter and photographer from the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper, came to the event to interview us. They took quite a few pictures. The following week, the article was published with one picture of everyone doing the “Electric Slide.” I was completely cropped out from the left side of the picture. Seriously!

As I have mentioned ad nauseam over the last few weeks, I participated in the Hero Rush obstacle course benefitting fallen firefighters. Before the race, I bought a picture package from a professional sports photography company. I figured that since the pictures were for personal use and not publication, I would have a chance to have some photographs to share after the event. Five days after I took first place in Men 45+ (I cannot stop mentioning that), I was supposed to get an email telling me my package was ready for download.

On the Hero Rush Facebook page, I managed to find three pictures of me that their staff had taken. I immediately downloaded them even though I look terrible in all of them.

Five days went by, and I heard nothing. Two weeks later, I received the following email:

“Hi, what is your full name and bib number? We cannot seem to locate any pictures of you?”

My response:

“Look for the two snotty women running in front of a sweaty dark green backdrop. That backdrop would be my chest.”

I clearly should have been a chest model.

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