As you may have noticed, my blog is called “Reflections in a Misty Mirror.” Today, let’s reflect on mirrors.
Mirrors are wonderful devices, and have a smidgeon of magic in them. The mirror reflects back to us an amalgam of what we see, what we want to see, and a strange, unverified concept called reality. I mean all mirrors, not just the “mirror, mirror, on the wall” kind. There may be the occasional bad actor mirror, such as at an arcade, but for the most part, they do us quite a service.
I began to notice this when I reached the age when sags and bags and wrinkles and kinks began to distort my once-youthful face. Come to think of it, Saggs, Baggs, Wrinkles and Kinks sounds like a law firm in a decrepit part of town. But I digress. Not that digressing’s a bad thing. In fact, some of my best thoughts occur during digressions. Such detours also distract the reader from the fact that I have nothing interesting to say.
Digressing from my digression, I had noticed that photographs of me seemed to indicate that I had recently passed away. As time went on, photographs seemed to indicate that I had passed away, been buried for three weeks, and exhumed. But I still looked great in the mirror. Maybe rather gray, and a little tired, but certainly decades younger than that stiff in the photos.
Why is that? Why do we look better in the mirror? It could simply be self-delusion, of course, but I suspect that some of that would cross-over into our evaluation of snapshots. Does it have something to do with the reversed image we see? After all, that inscrutable face isn’t quite us; it’s just different enough to be interesting. Or is it that looking in the mirror is akin to seeing us on the screen, be it TV or theater, and we unconsciously think of ourselves as a star? Admit it, now, you’re a bit of a star in your mind, aren’t you? Hey, if I am, you certainly can be. You and me, starring on the silver screen, or at least in the silver mirror. We’d definitely be the fairest, or maybe even better than fair – we’re be downright not too half-bad.
Before we rush to pooh-pooh that idea and abdicate our star status, remember we see in the mirror what our brain interprets the image as. And our brain has been seeing us all of our lives, when we were always younger than we are now. So Mr. or Ms. Brain takes a quick look, and being occupied with 357,000 other thoughts, says, “Oh, that person. Yeah, I know that one. It’s me.” And it doesn’t really look all that closely, because it has already moved on to what’s for lunch, and is this Wednesday or Thursday, and did I remember to remove the plastic wrap before I put the meatloaf in the oven.
And really, the reasons are unimportant. I just know I look much better in the mirror. Maybe it’s all that mist covering the mirror. So don’t be surprised if I decline your request to take my picture, and hand you a pocket mirror, and say, “Just look here instead. Trust me, I look terrific in there.”