Monday, April 25, 2011

Prosopagnosia, or how i learned to forget a face

in the literature this inability to recognize a face seen as a terrible defect. on the other hand it's an art i achieved the hard way: by growing older in the presence of many young people.

you see, i've spent most of my life hanging around colleges, soaking up what i can without doing it for grades, while enjoying the looks of young women in their prime. and this is where i acquired my skill.

youth looks pretty much the same. no wrinkles, bright eyes, puffy cheeks. and the lingo sounds pretty much the same, you know, sort of, man, that's cool. and after thirty years in this town i'm constantly misplacing faces.

i get used to a pretty one, and see it till it's about 23, then it disappears into outer space. and couple years later i see it on an 18 year-old. for a moment i'm startled. are we all recycled? it's entirely possible. and maybe we really are two thousand years old without knowing it.

so, the thing to do is don't keep anyone in sight until they radically change at 25. yes, it's the portrait of dorian grey all over again. the cheeks grow sallow, the bones jut out. furrows appear between the brows, the hair loses its luster. suddenly, a real person stands where once only an american idol did.

i have suffered this shock, alas. and it is quite disquieting. i have to hide my eyes. the mirror in the bathroom has become a museum. i try not to take it personally and shift my allegiance to the fledglings surrounding me in the history of photography. a photograph, now there's a holy object. paper your walls with them. and let them fade, just as the originals did.

as they say, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. here's the easter hunt for the golden one laid by a goose: