Saturday, October 1, 2011

I'm Just High On Life

HARBESON: Picture this
I’ve been wondering how long it would take before someone noticed that there’s something about me that’s kind of odd. I’m finally forced to address it because a reader, who goes by the name of Juan, has been regularly pointing it out in the online comments section of this paper.

It has to do with my current column photo.

From the start, I never liked the original photo taken of me at the newspaper’s office. It wasn’t the photographer’s fault though. He tried his best but every time he turned the camera to show me the shot, I winced. Finally I saw that look all photographers eventually give me that says “Listen lady, that’s what you look like, deal with it.”

So, after using the photo for a year or so, I decided it was time for a change and sent the paper an informal photo I liked. And that’s where my comment stalker, Juan, comes in. Juan has noticed something odd about this photo which he has shared several times.

Here’s the first comment he made: “Harbeson looks higher than Snoop Dogg in her column photo. Good for her. Smoke a blunt for me Deb.” Although it was easy to understand what Juan meant, I did have to look up the word blunt.

Then he wrote this: “I used to shovel snow and rake leaves to make a buck all the time. Thanks for the memories Deb. And man, I need to find some smoke like Harbeson’s toking. She looks higher than Cheech and Chong.”

And finally, “I'm not homeless but I will take some cash for beer Deb. Ha. Stoner.”

So Juan seems to think I really scored some stuff when this photo was taken. He’s right, I do look high. But my brain was completely clear of cannabis. I can see why he thinks I was stoned though — my eyelids do have that mellow droopy look.

I wish I could say it was because I was tired. After all, this picture was taken after I had to stand in line in the hot sun on a concrete parking lot next to a concrete wall so I could grab front and center seats at a Joan Jett concert.

It was one of those days where you could see the heat rise from the ground. Yes, Juan I swear that’s really why the ground appeared wavy to me.

I actually sent the paper two photos to choose from and the other photo was taken at a ZZ Top concert, another outdoor event held on a scorching hot day. My eyelids are drooping in that photo, too. But no Juan, I wasn’t high then either. You can ask my mom. She was there.

I had a third photo ready to send if needed. This one was taken at a Jimmy Buffet concert and although my eyelids were drooping in that photo as well, anyone who’s ever been to a Buffett concert knows that I could not have been high. No one ever gets high at a Jimmy Buffett concert.

As I looked at these photos, I started to wonder why I liked them so much, even though they highlight my odd droopy eyes. Could it be that I like these particular photos because of something only I can see: the memories of good times spent with people I care about? Could it be that, for me, a formal posed photo is merely a meaningless image, unanchored by memory?

Nah, I just like photos taken of me at concerts because it’s one place where my natural droopy eyelids look like everyone else’s for a while.

— Clark County resident Debbie Harbeson always has a smoking good time at concerts.

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