Ok, here’s the thing. I have a truly cosmic theory that could wipe out, hum, maybe 80% of every human being’s most primal fear, that of dying. I am absolutely convinced that the moment we’re born, there is a little invisible tag attached to our big toe that has the exact minute, day, month, and year that we will be exiting old Mother Earth. As sure as I am about this theory, there are some holes I still need to patch up, but we’ll talk more about those later.
Yesterday I was driving to a nearby town to have my car serviced when suddenly a small blue car began to spin and revolve in the lane next to me, wildly out of control at about 50MPH. It looked like cars do when they unexpectedly hit an icy patch in the winter, except for the fact that is was 70 degrees; road conditions were completely dry. I glanced over to the right lane but it was occupied by several vehicles, so there was no escaping in that direction. I braked hard in order to let the car spin out in front of me instead of into the side of my mommy van and avoided the car slamming into mine by about 6’. As I resumed speed and passed the car I looked down and saw the panicked face of a teenage boy, looking like he didn’t know what had almost hit him. One little moment this way or that and my day, and possibly the rest of my life, and his as well, could have had a very different outcome.
Over the years I have experienced perhaps a dozen incidents like this, some, like being broadsided by a drunk driver whose car exploded into three pieces after hitting me and traveled for one block before smashing into a telephone pole, were much more dramatic than yesterday’s. Sometimes, it’s almost a voice alerting you to danger, or a sensation so persistent you can’t shake it off. I’ve discussed this with enough people to know I’m not unique; almost everyone who’s willing to talk about this subject admits they’ve had similar experiences.
So, if my Toe Tag Theory is correct, why do I turn ashen every time my flight takes off or is about to land, or we’re flying through turbulent weather? And every time we’re flying at 90MPH on Interstate 95, heading down to Florida, with 18-wheelers surrounding us? The Spousal Unit would appreciate an answer to this also, since I’ve squeezed his hand hard enough to fracture bones. As a true convert to my own theory, I should be cool as a cucumber, because, if it’s my day to go, nothing I’m going to do or any place I’m going to be will prevent it from happening, right? Somehow it doesn’t quite work out that smoothly, for me anyway. But isn’t it a powerful thought nonetheless? If you are supposed to be here for precisely 26 years, 3 months, 21 days, and 11 hours, why stress because whether you get on that rickety antique roller coaster or just lie down to take a nap, your Toe Tag is stamped and you’re outta here, regardless.
Anyway, excellent Pooter news. She went to the vet and the tennis-ball sized tumor on her abdomen turned out to be a giant hematoma caused by Booger’s big plastic cone head ramming into his sister’s side at top velocity; it’s already shrinking dramatically, so The Nanny’s Toe Tag moment is clearly not yet at hand.
Goodness knows there were many times during my nine months with Eve Shelton Models when I thought my career should have been pronounced terminal. Any time I wasn’t out on “go sees” (knocking on doors of potential clients and photographers trying to line up my next booking), I was hanging out at Alberto’s studio, plotting my next career move. Alberto was inconveniently married, but I wasn’t going to let a small obstacle like a wife ruin my day. It was a lot more pleasant spending time with someone who adored you than hanging out at our flat watching Boy watch TV and scratch himself all day long. Alberto truly did devote himself to advancing my career. The problem was that he had never been that successful himself, even at his peak, which was years prior; he was 26 years my senior. All the movers and shakers that he sent me to see were long past their pull date and were getting slightly moldy. I often felt like I was visiting the Crypt Keepers. On the odd occasion, one of these aging gentlemen would take some really good shots of me to add to my portfolio, and sometimes they had access to amazing wardrobes, and even more rarely, they might have a paying job they would book me for, but mostly this period was a learning curve, kind of like community college. Even the bad photos were educational. Wrong hair or make up, or poor posture were quickly corrected in order to be better in the future.
In the gloomy, snowy month of March 1975, three events were going to converge that would allow me to say goodbye to Eve Shelton for good and that would propel me toward the destiny I had dreamed about since I was 12 years old.