#2: I am not Bess Motta.

This is my 3rd grade picture and one of many reasons I feel stupid scheduling a "photo shoot."

We lived in Fort Scott, Kansas, at the time. The 20-Minute Workout starring Bess Motta was on the television every morning. I thought she was fabulous. I already had the leg warmers. The night before school pictures, I told my mom I wanted the hair.

My mom worked at the local community college. My sisters and I got $3 haircuts from students in the cosmetology program. But Mom gave us perms at home. My 3rd grade 'do was a product of Ogilvie and my insistence on the tiniest curling rods we had.

Mom told me my hair would not look like Bess Motta's because it wasn't long enough. I told her: Nonsense.

Either she was picking her battles or she was teaching me a lesson, but my mother obliged, and this is what I looked like when I sat down in the makeshift photo studio on the auditorium/gymnasium stage of Eugene Ware Elementary School.

This photo pops into my consciousness any time I've taken myself too seriously. It pops up when I'm trying to be sexy. It pops up when I'm trying to do my hair and my makeup. It is singlehandedly responsible for a lifelong inability to groom myself. "Look at what you did to yourself," it says. "This is what happens when you try, dear."

It pops up when I schedule a "photo shoot."

I can only write "photo shoot" if I put it in "quotes." Otherwise, I just feel ridiculous. Who do you think you are with this "photo shoot" business? Cheryl Tiegs?

It's been scheduled and rescheduled three times so far. It's spring in Iowa, and we have to plan our outdoor activities around lightning and hail. The "photo shoot" was moved to today around a crop of storms. And now I see yet another round has appeared in the forecast. I'm trying not to take this as a sign. Is Mama Earth functioning on my behalf? To save me from embarrassment?

Although, if it weren't for the threat of being electrocuted or sucked into a funnel cloud, I kind of like the idea of having my picture taken in the middle of a downpour. It would keep it real. There would be no pressure to look nice. Take pictures. Don't drown. These are accessible goals.

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