OK, it seems like a lifetime since I worked in the hay fields. The intervening years of sun, wind and winters have combined forces with gravity. I now resemble Walter Brennan or Walter Matthau more than the youthful me.
Nevertheless, it did surprise me recently that a neighbor was not certain he recognized me when our dog was taking me for a walk. As the neighbor was approaching me, he stopped and asked, “Frank?”
That experience eroded some confidence I had been acquiring thanks to the positive-thinking outlook provided seniors in AARP's periodic magazine. On the cover of the February/March 2021 issue is a photograph of handsome George Clooney.
Mr. Clooney mesmerizes the women, just as St. George slayed the dragon. And St. George served in the Roman army. Is it a coincidence that George Clooney has a home in Italy? I think not.
The text in the magazine states that George “... was once young, trotting alongside his newscaster father to beauty pageants in Indiana...” I could be George's long-lost brother. Now that is a confidence builder.
Just like me, George has crossed the threshold of eligibility for AARP. All right, I get it. George just crossed the threshold. I cannot even see it in my rearview mirror.
George's picture on that magazine cover is displayed in our bathroom. Wait a minute! There are no photographs of me in our bathroom.
I challenged my wife to tell me what George has that I do not have. “Where do I begin?” she answered.
“Well,” she continued, “I bet all of his socks match and none of them have a hole in the toe.”
“That is easy to fix,” I replied. “Go on. What else?”
“And George can sing. You cannot sing.”
“Of course he can sing.” I replied. “He has a home on Lake Perry Como.”
“It's Lake Como, you fool. Besides, names mean nothing,” said the woman who demands I call her “Queenie.”
“Oh yeah,” I said. “If names mean nothing, how do you explain that Johnny Cash was rich and Dolly Parton is a doll?”
“Aha,” she fired back. “I knew it wasn't her singing you like. It's her very big bank account.”
I could see this discussion was going nowhere. I decided to let her think she had won. I worried that in anger, just to make her jealous, I would shout my secret.
What is my secret? It is that those “TW” club covers on my golf clubs do not stand for Tiger Woods. They honor Tammy Wynette. When I pull out my driver to hit a tee shot on a 550-yard hole with a dogleg left, I need a club that will stand by its man.
I concede that even Tammy had a flaw. She loved a guy named “George.”
If you change your birth name, do not overdo it. Some modesty is required. For example, look at how one successful comedian handled it. He went by the name “Rich Little.” It was his humble way of saying, “I'm wealthy ... but not obnoxiously wealthy. “
While I ponder the issue of whether I should change my name, I am going to find a photograph of me and hang it in the bathroom. That particular photo will be temporary.
Next, I will call AARP and ask for the name of the photographer who doctored Mr. Clooney's picture. Could he, or she, photograph me with a full head of dark hair with silver streaks? What about dark, penetrating eyes that look into your soul?
Then I will need a home on a lake. Not far north of Fort Wayne is Lake George. Look like George. Live on a lake named George, not too distant from Caruso's, a popular Italian restaurant. Even old man Clooney would think he was in Italy.
I am getting a good feeling. My plan is coming together. Soon, when the dog takes me for a walk and we encounter that same neighbor, I bet he looks at me and says, “George?”
Frank Hill is a Fort Wayne resident.