Many of you have inquired, “What do you look like?” A not unreasonable question, at least not when posed by readers of this blog, but disconcerting when asked in person. I don’t know how to answer people who ask me that when standing right in front of me, but for you, my faithful readers, I found a nice portrait.
I admit it’s not a recent picture, but what writer — actual or bloggual — ever has a current photo by his name? Allow me this innocent vanity and I won’t comment on your age-inappropriate t-shirts and baseball caps. You’re looking at a detail of a lively picture by Benjamin West dramatizing General Wolfe Dying on the Plains of Abraham at the Battle of Québec in 1759. The inexperienced surgeon (in black) is futilely attempting to save the boneless General by using a pillow case to staunch a through-and-through cannonball wound the size of a Crenshaw melon. You see me on the right with my comrade-in-arms, Snacker — I’m the one in front with the flowing hair. We look distressed because we are too late. We have brought, in our cupped hands, Wonderful Healing Frogs that abound along the St. Lawrence River. They might well have revived General Wolfe if the bungling ministrations of that young medic had not already settled his hash. I’ve put on a bit of weight since posing for the tableau, and I’ve switched sides in the conflict, but the likeness is still pretty good, so if you meet me on the street, in a cavern, or outside the ruins of an ancient temple, you need only glance at a printout of the picture to know who it is who glares at you.