As one would expect, my deaf hippie parents had an eclectic bunch of friends. One such friend was a cartoonist specializing in caricatures. One afternoon he drew Risa and her coke bottle bottom glasses. Then Butch with his oversized smile. Then my older brother with his bowl haircut. We oohhed and ahhhed as each sketch was revealed and I waited patiently on the sidelines. Finally, my much anticipated turn came and I was in the chair posing for my first portrait at the tender age of three. I kept absolutely still, nearly peeing my pants in excitement. What would he see when he saw me? My big brown eyes? My cute little nose? My mom and brother looked over his shoulder and giggled, looking at me then the pad then back to me again and then would snicker some more. Oh I couldn’t wait! What was he drawing?! What were they seeing?
Ta-Da! He was done and turned the pad around to reveal his creation. Staring back at me was not me at all, but my Snoopy sweatshirt. It wasn’t even a caricature of my Snoopy sweatshirt, but the exact same likeness of it. I was mortified and sorely disappointed. Where was the picture of me? You drew Snoopy? Motherfu*king, Red Baron-flying, Woodstock-loving SNOOPY? Where’s the creativity in that? My anger was made worse by the conspiracy that had taken place around me. They had all duped me, even my own mother. This very type of betrayal has sparked a thousand Greek tragedies and mass shootings in high schools, I’m certain of it.
Alas, had I already played the part of Helena in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I would have quoted her lines in Act III:
“Lo, she is one of this confederacy!
Now I perceive they have conjoin’d all three
To fashion this false sport, in spite of me. . .
Have you conspired, have you with these contrived
To bait me with this foul derision?”
After the tears subsided, one would think he would make it up to me by then drawing what he had led me to expect. But, no, it was back to bowl smoking and beer drinking.
At three years old, I learned that my level of expectation is sometimes too high. I know people are capable of disappointing me and yet I still hope that they’ll come through. I would like to believe that some day I’ll open my mail to find a tube with a little note from him stuck to a faded caricature of three-year-old-me, but I know that will never happen. Jerk off.
That, folks, is why I hate caricatures.