Who Is This Man?

SELFPHOTO

Who is that? Where is it?

Look close. I recognize the picture on the wall to his right. I recognize the view out the window behind him. It’s the apartment where I lived during the ’80s.

In later life my mother said she still carried in her head the image of herself at eighteen, and she expressed a ruminative mild dismay at this, as though she couldn’t quite believe the image was locked in her mind but also couldn’t quite believe she wasn’t eighteen anymore.

My ruminative mild dismay is that I come across pictures in which I don’t recognize myself. I know what I look like. I even know what I looked like as a child, a teenager, and a very young man. But in the great middle ground things get blurry.

Hair got long or buzz-cut, moustaches and beards came and went, one put on a little weight, took off a little.

But the man in the picture above is beyond hippie-time, and his hair hasn’t begun to thin, not much. I should know him.

What’s he doing? Who took this picture? Is he in his underwear or are those shorts?

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