Little Bitty Neck

Bruce Ham Head Shot

2014, five full years ago!

Bruce Ham Head Shot, 2-19

Little Neck, Today

About every five years, our marketing department decides that the leadership team at work needs new head shots.  These are pictures of your head – just your head – that you use for professional purposes.  Like when I speak at a conference, I’m often asked to send a “head shot” so I forward my pic.

 

I am fairly happy with my 2014 headshot.  I look young.  I’m not sure why we’d want to alter that.

My boss has looked the same for the past twenty years.  You could toss his past five headshots into a basket and not know which came first.  Me, not so much.  There is a definitive difference between late forties and mid-fifties.

I am compliant, so I went onto the Signup Genius to choose the time to meet with the photographer.  When my time came, I meandered unexcitedly to the small conference room where they had set up shop.  The email calling for new pics informed us that there would be a makeup/hair stylist to help us look our best.

I wondered why.  I mean, we’re the Y.  Aren’t we supposed to look recreational?  Besides, there are only like two employees at our corporate office who have ever worn makeup, and I don’t count because it was when I was in a play.

I showed up promptly at 11:20 AM.  I was allotted 15 minutes.  A VP of Marketing was ahead of me.  She looked great – wearing her Sunday best.

I knew there was little anyone could do with the hair.  And I declined the makeup.

She insisted, “I just want to take the sheen off of your forehead.”

I didn’t know my forehead had a sheen!  All this time I’ve been walking around with a shiny forehead and no one told me.  How embarrassing.

She powdered me up.

She then pulled out lipstick, I reared back.  “You’re not putting that stuff on my lips,” I told the woman who was desperately trying to earn her keep.

Give me that mouth, she argued.

I think she got paid by the lip.

When I realized she was essentially putting fancy Chapstick on me, I acquiesced.  There was no color, although I thought I saw a sparkle on the end of the tube.

A friend of mine was helping to coordinate us bums so I asked her to crack some jokes so that I would look happy.  I have a tendency for the fixed pose with a fake smile.  She began to taunt me, which is not unusual for this co-worker.  I laughed and our time was over.

When I received the proof of my pic, I quickly opened my last one taken a half a decade or so earlier.  It was sad really.  The gray protruding from my temples today.  The wrinkles more wrinkly in 2019.  I should have been more lenient on my makeup friend.  Perhaps she could have made this look better.

That night I showed the photo to Michelle.  She sent the pic to her sisters.

DJ responded immediately with a haha text thought bubble.

That didn’t make me feel great.  Haha?  Shouldn’t that be reserved for a hilarious joke??

Michelle then remarked, “Dad looks very happy!!!!!!!!!”

Why so many explanation marks??????  Do I not usually look that happy?

Stephanie replied, He does look happy.  Followed by, His neck looks so small.

Seriously?  Like who wants a frickin’ enormous neck?  It just normal.  Just a normal neck.  On the slightly thin side, but just a neck that’s working hard to hold up a big shiny forehead apparently and two slightly glittered lips.

After that exchange I was worried a bit about my headshot.  Until the Marketing Director sent us links to all of the headshots.  I’ll have to confess, I opened them all just out of curiosity.  And when I saw my good friend’s pic, I felt much better about mine.

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Quiet Please

I’m convinced that the cleaning lady at work lives in the men’s bathroom.  She’s always in there. 

There are two bathrooms in my office building, one on the first floor and one on the second.  I’m upstairs.  If I need to go, invariably, her big rolling trash can is blocking the open door.  That is her signal – DON’T COME IN, I’M CLEANING.  But I don’t think she is. 

I think she stands outside of my office and runs to the men’s bathroom when she sees my chair turn around.  She then giggles when she hears my footsteps near her cart.

If I’m headed in from lunch and decide to take a pit stop on the first floor  before heading back upstairs, guess what?  She’s parked her hefty Rubbermaid in the downstairs doorway. 

I think she’s in there watching a television that’s hardwired to a camera above my desk.  

Although I’ve worked in that building for three years, I’ve never seen her though.  How could I?  She’s always inside, “cleaning”.

The other day, when the downstairs was closed, I sprinted upstairs before she could get her can on the elevator.  I’m sure she was upset when she heard me rapidly heading for the stairwell.  Can’t carry the can on your back up the steps lady!  I beat cha’.

When I walked in to the second floor bathroom, there was a dude in the center stall chatting on the phone.  Just chatting and pooping – simultaneously.  I bet he can also walk and chew gum.

What is wrong with people?  Imagine being on the other end of that call – when suddenly you hear the toilet flush.  I could tell by the conversation that it was a work call.  It’s not like he was talking ACC sports with Jesse or something.  No, he was doing business while he was doing biz-ness.

I don’t want to talk in the bathroom.  If I’m at the urinal, I need quiet.  Don’t come up to me and ask about my weekend.  I don’t want to hear about the new software conversion or the monthly budget.  Scares my bladder – and then I’ve got to leave and hope to return when the maid is at lunch.

It is my dream to one day be important enough to have my own personal bathroom attached to my office.  Until then, if you see me near the boys’ room, leave me alone!

Sunday Post 23: The Best Summer of Our Lives

I used to struggle to use all of my vacation days.  I guess you could say I was addicted to work.

It wasn’t that my employer didn’t encourage me to take my time – they were very supportive of me using my vacation days to recharge.  It was that I enjoyed what I did and was driven to do more.  I think I got a lot of strokes at work.  Having an incredible fiscal year or raising more money to help kids through the Y motivated me to do more. 

I remember working all weekend long and sometimes multiple weekends in a row.  It’s as if I thought things would fall apart if I wasn’t there.  How could they survive without my input?

What I gained at work, I probably lost at home.  Perhaps my overriding commitment to working harder put barriers between my children and me.  The truth was the more time I spent at work, the less time I spent with them.  And I know that I often put work before my marriage.  I’d work late or bring my computer to the bedroom.  Speaking from experience, that is not helpful in the romance department.

But over the years, I found myself spending less time in the office and more time with my family and friends.  I’ve seen the view from my office window 20,000 times.  I’ve only seen Old Faithful once.  I spend about ten days a year on the beach, I’d like to spend more.  Tonight I sat with some of my best friends in a backyard – just eating, laughing and talking.  What a beautiful, beautiful view.

The year Lisa was diagnosed with cancer, our family went to Disney World, Yellowstone, Topsail Beach, Lake Gaston and spent a romantic weekend in New Bern.  We sat on our screened in porch countless times and ate dinner with friends.  In August when our last summer vacation was complete, I said, “This was the best summer of our lives.”  That was two weeks before we found out she had stage 4 colon cancer.

It wasn’t the best summer because I’d spent more hours in the office or because I’d made more money.  It was the best summer because we’d spent time together – and with our family and friends.

I work hard.  I bring value to my job.  I enjoy what I do and I want to leave a strong legacy at the Y.  But more importantly, I want to make sure that when I die, whenever that may be, that the previous year has been the best of my life.

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