I once smashed a mirror because I didn’t like what stared back at me. The problem wasn’t that I smashed a mirror, but that it wasn’t mine.
I was younger then, just a kid really, in my very early twenties. The gal I had been dating dumped me. She gave no reason, not even the ‘it’s me, not you,’ line. I later found out she had been cheating on me and had managed to get herself knocked up. Way to go there, gal.
The mirror belonged to a friend and he wasn’t terribly happy with me. Neither were my knuckles. When a mirror breaks the tiny slivers can shred skin fairly easily. Three knuckles on my right hand looked like hamburger meat for a few days. We should have fried that up and made a burger out of it.
Why did I punch that poor inanimate object? Well, for one, punching the gal was out of the question. Two, punching my friend was out of the question. Hmmm…the mirror was a victim of circumstance. It just happened to be on the wrong wall at the wrong time. It should have known better. As if.
At any rate, mirrors can be fascinating. They show you what you look like to others. They can make you think your butt looks big—no honey, your butt is nice just the way it is. They are the last bastions of hope as you check yourself out before leaving the homestead and heading out into the world, hopefully looking your best.
They do NOT talk to you like the one in Snow White.
However, you can talk to it. Come on, I know you have. I have. Often my conversations aren’t the ‘hey, man, looking good,’ type. They are more like, ‘Dude, that’s messed up,’ Trust me, I’ve seen myself in the one way looking glass—it’s not pretty. I may have actually been doing that mirror a favor, by putting it out of its misery, therefore making it so it couldn’t reflect my image back to the world. Oh, the black eye I must have given it. The shattered ego…
Mirrors are like shrinks, only you don’t have to pay a couple hundred bucks for an hour of time and an uncomfortable chair or couch. And you can talk FOREVER and the mirror doesn’t keep checking its watch.
If you’re a writer, then the mirror is one of your besties—I can’t believe I used that word. Let me try again. If you are a writer, then the mirror is one of your best friends. I’m serious. I know you all think I have lost my mind, and maybe I have, but I’ve had many a conversation with the mirror in the bathroom, the one that sits above the sink. It’s nothing special, as far as looks go. Just an ordinary, average mirror that reflects the ordinary, average image of me back.
I make faces in the mirror. Frowns. Scowls. Smiles. Smirks. Open-mouthed gapes. I stick out my tongue. Poke out my bottom lip. Sometimes I bite that bottom lip, or maybe even blow out some air, puffing my cheeks out as I do so. I squint, get all wide-eyed, cut my eyes left and right and up and down. Or is that down and up and right and left? Who knows? Who cares?
I have had discussions with myself, sometimes quite animatedly, hands waving, spittle flying from the mouth. Most of the time when I have those conversations I am trying to work out some dialogue or other, or trying to figure out a plot. Occasionally it’s to pump myself up, boost the confidence that may be dwindling at that point.
During these little conversations I find myself listening to the reflection looking back at me. It’s disturbing, I know, but if you’ve ever had a conversation with me you know my mind runs at seventeen thousand words per second and really, the only one who can keep up with those thoughts is me. It’s like Gilmore Girls meets Sheldon from Big Bang Theory in my head. It’s actually quite entertaining.
Tonight I looked in the mirror—no, I don’t do it every day. I’m not so sure I could handle seeing myself that often. Besides, how many mirrors will I break in the process? Staring back at me was a man with a scraggly and sparse beard, hair that looked like something on Christopher Lloyd’s head, glasses, the left eye all pink, and a smirk. Oh, that constant smirk. I didn’t decide to punch the mirror. No, I nodded. My reflection nodded back. It’s as if it copied my every movement…
Sometimes that mirror can be creepy. I’ll make hand gestures and movements, watching the reflection, wondering if maybe I was the reflection and the mirror was really me and I was the one doing the copying of the movements. I don’t know. Who knows? The one thing I am certain of is I have a story idea…and it may just involve mirrors, reflections and just who is on the inside, me or the reflection.
Until we meet again, my friends…