i'm the same as i was when i was six years old.

the picture isn't terribly good. in fact, i'd probably go ahead and say that it's pretty mediocre. the story behind it is that there's this multi-million dollar business in men's cologne and deodorant. alex, here, is nine and doesn't really need the products, but chooses to absolutely soak himself with the stuff every night. here, i'll paraphrase a conversation we had:

alex: so is this how other boys become famous?
me, confused: hm? what's that?
alex: by being photographed.
me: oh. well, i suppose you might. you are going to be in the paper, after all.
alex: i'm going to be famous!

as i walked out of the apartment, i could hear the kid chanting 'i'm going to be famous! i'm going to be famous!' to his mother. but i wonder, what price is packaged with said fame?

we grow up and our ideas of what's cool kind of change, right? i mean, some day this nine-year-old will no longer be nine. some day he'll actually need the body products, and he'll be bringing girls home to meet his mother, who will, most likely, drudge the clipping out. this picture ran on the front of the world-herald. his belly, for all to see, will be immortalized in his mother's adoring memory and in the clips that friends and family will, no doubt, send his way.

i was photographed for the lincoln journal star when i was seven. my uncle had taken me and my cousins to a fishing contest on a cold spring day. it was particularly windy, and i had a penchant for runny noses, so my uncle gave me a wind breaker, which was made for a grown man. obviously, i was drowning in the suit, but when the photographer, whoever he was, asked to take my picture, i was absolutely delighted.

in high school, i came to find that the picture was a little embarrassing. i looked pathetic, holding a tiny little fish with snot
pouring down my face. i remember we received several dozen copies of the clip from friends who had seen it, and a trip down memory lane (the photo cabinet in the downstairs of my parents' home) will prove the photo exists in more places than just my mother's memory.

but you know what? i grew up even more, and i kind of became ok with it. it's not a moment of fame or anything. i'm no more famous for the photo now than alex will be in ten years for his. and though what's cute/exciting when we were seven or nine may prove embarrassing at age 15, we also eventually get over ourselves, even kinda revert to who/how we were at age seven. start to realize what's actually important. and being a part of the history of lincoln, through a journal star photo, or of omaha, through a world-herald photo, might add up to something more special than fifteen minutes of fame.