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A Balcony View: I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way

July 27, 2010

Every Tuesday, I post the link to the Glendale News-Press website on my Facebook page so my friends all over the world can read my weekly column. Though it may be hard for my detractors to believe, I actually have loyal readers in places like Australia.

When the paper underwent an online makeover a few weeks back, my picture was removed and advertising links were put in its place. As a capitalist, I can understand this money-making move on the part of the paper. Filling cyberspace with ads instead of my picture is just business.

Last week, much to my surprise, a likeness of me returned. But it was not the photo I had been accustomed to. It was a miniscule grayish, thumbnail illustration on the News-Press' home page. At first, I didn't think much of. It was so small I could barely make out the image. So I downloaded the image to get a closer look.

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At first, I was a little offended at the artist's hefty interpretation of me. But because I realized that I was going to be the harshest critic, I sent the image out to about 200 friends, leaving it for a more impartial jury to decide. I asked the judges, many of whom are either in advertising or in some aspect of the creative world, to weigh in on the drawing. Here are some of their comments:

One friend suggested that I looked like the illegitimate love-child of actors Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill. Another thought that it was in homage to the old Al Hirschfeld celebrity caricatures made famous in the New York Times — if Hirschfeld had suffered a stroke while drawing it.

Another believed it made me look like Wooly Willy, the toy in which metal dust is moved about with a magnetic wand to add hair, mustache and whiskers to a cartoon face. And the comment that most mirrored my own opinion came from a creative director who said it looked like a police composite sketch for a child molester.

My own similar critique had me looking like a 400-pound liquor store robbery suspect. Ironic, considering the debut of this not-so-flattering portrait first appeared with my column expressing a desire to lose weight and avoid dying of a heart attack. I suppose on the upside, every time I see this bloated rendering of me, I will be compelled to fast for weeks at a time.

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