Some people in life are just naturally photogenic. No matter what the situation, they look beautiful in photographs. They could have their photo taken while being pulled out of an overturned and burning septic truck, and still manage to look put together and attractive. I am not one of those people. Not by a long shot. When it comes to having my picture taken, I cannot catch a break. Seriously.
Someone can take a photo of me with a group of friends out enjoying a dinner or some other fabulous event. We can all be having a terrific time, but that is not reflected through the lens. Everyone in the photo could look casual and relaxed with not a care in the world, while I look like the poster child for the National Stress Foundation. Or my fly is open, or my tongue is hanging out of my mouth, or I have a finger up my nose. It doesn't matter which, something will be tragically wrong with the image. I was bombing in photos long before photo bombing even became a thing.
Early Signs of Trouble
This problem started early in life. Take, for example, this 1979 high school photo of our yearbook staff (ironically, I was a photographer for the school paper and yearbook. Those who can't be in photos, I suppose, take them).
Can you tell which one is me?
Click image for larger and more embarrassing view
It doesn't matter that they took several shots in that session. The guy behind me goosed me just as this shot was taken, and that is the one they used in the book. That is the way I will forever be remembered at Durango Senior High.
And it Continued
There were these two photos, snapped a number of years ago at the NWCDC. In one I look as though I am being robbed, and the other I am being kissed by Joe Paduda. And today Paduda is a politician. I'll never live that down.
Fat Guy at the Dessert Table
Of course, there was the famous RIMS debacle of 2011. It was the annual conference in Vancouver, and on the second day I got an email from a friend. “Nice picture”, is what it said, and a link led to a photo gallery RIMS had posted for the previous day. The gallery contained a variety of images showing insurance and risk management professionals engaged in various business interactions and deeply involved in sessions and presentations. Everyone was shown to be a consummate professional. And what was my photo? I was captured at the dessert table, where it looked as though I had shoved two women out of my way and was greedily stuffing candy into a plastic bag.
The photos are still available but must be purchased in order to be used. I'm too cheap to pay $35 for the right to post a picture of myself (that I wasn't even aware was being taken), so the link to it is here.
Which brings me to the latest in this sad round of photographic bombs. I got a text from Mark Pew, Drug Guru, the other day. It included a picture, and the question, “Are you getting ready to take a leak on their booth?” The picture, it turns out, is on page 98 of the catalog for the upcoming annual conference of the Workers' Compensation Institute in Orlando this August. And it does, unfortunately, appear in the photo as if I am urinating on the Access On Time Booth.
Click image for larger and more embarrassing view
Now, I ask you. Why would I do such a thing? The guy I am speaking to in the photo, Gene Levulis, is a great guy. His boss, Mel Nehleber, is also a terrific person. In fact, I consider Gene and Mel to be part of my “on the road family” – friends I look forward to seeing and enjoy interacting with when I am attending multiple conferences around the nation.
Access On Time is also our customer. They are always a pleasure to deal with. They've never given me a reason to do such a thing. Yet, there I am in a photo in a catalog mailed to a gazillion people, looking as if I am preparing to relieve myself on their booth. I suppose if I ever become rich and famous, the folks at Access On Time could put a sign on their table that says, “Bob Wilson Pee'd Here (‘cause we didn't have any candy)”.
So, when it comes to photo's you can see I am clearly challenged. I suspect I am the victim of some as yet unidentified disability, and therefore should be due all the rights and privileges associated with whatever accommodations required by law for my condition. As soon as Congress gets healthcare and tax reform out of the way, I'll see if we can get them working on this. That should give me ample time to establish a name for the condition.
Ample time, indeed.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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