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Here's Looking at You, Pal

By Jerry Zezima

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the dumbest of them all?

The answer was painfully obvious — because I hit my thumb with a hammer — when I tried to hang a mirror on the family room wall.

The trouble began when my wife, Sue, brought home a mirror she bought in a barn. Frankly, I didn’t know barns had mirrors.

I can just imagine the conversation between tenants.

Cow (admiring herself in the mirror): “I’m looking a lot slimmer since I got milked this morning.”

Bull (seeing his reflection): “And I’m looking like a real stud. I’ve got the horns for you, babe.”

Cow: “You are so full of yourself.”

The bovine couple must have mooooved out before Sue got there because the barn was occupied by humans selling antiques, crafts and other items.

Sue brought home the wood-framed mirror with flowery side panels to replace a plain mirror that was hanging above the couch in the family room.

“This one is a lot nicer,” Sue said about the new mirror, which is older than the old mirror. “And I got it for only $16.”

“That reflects well on you,” I said.

I noticed Sue rolling her eyes in the mirror.

I also noticed that we have a lot of mirrors in the house. The largest is in our bedroom. I can still recall the pain of hanging it when we moved in almost a quarter of a century ago. I’m surprised it didn’t fall, break into a hundred pieces, leave shards of glass sticking out of my face and bring me seven years’ bad luck.

There’s a smaller mirror in each of the other two bedrooms, which also have full-length mirrors on the backs of the doors.

The worst mirror is in our bathroom because I have to look in it to shave. It’s a frightening sight so early in the morning.

The other two bathrooms also have mirrors. When I’m in there, which Sue insists is the majority of my waking time, I try to avoid my own gaze.

The most valuable (and coveted) mirror is on the top of Sue’s dresser. It’s a silver-handled hand mirror that her mother gave to her. Our granddaughter Lilly is obsessed with it. She uses the mirror when she brushes her hair during visits to our house. Sue has promised to leave it to Lilly in her will.

I also have a hand mirror, but it has a black plastic handle and it didn’t come from my father. In fact, I bought it at CVS. No one is obsessed with this mirror because: (a) it’s cheap and crummy and (b) I use it when I trim my nose hair.

We have a mirror in each hallway, upstairs and downstairs, as well as four small mirrors in the living room.

There’s also a mirror in the laundry room, where my dirty underwear and wet bath towels can be seen in the reflection.

But the main mirror is the antique that Sue bought in the barn.

Hanging it was a challenge because I couldn’t get the hang of it. I had to stand on the couch, not an easy feat because my feet kept slipping between the cushions.

Then I had to nail a hook to the wall. Naturally, I dropped the nail behind the couch. Sue picked it up and handed it to me, whereupon I dropped the hook.

When I had both nail and hook back in hand, I came down with the hammer and promptly hit my thumb. My reaction could have shattered glass.

Finally, I got the hook up and tried to slip the mirror over it, but the sawtooth hanger on the back of the mirror was too narrow. So I had to use a pair of pliers to open the hook enough to hang the mirror on it.

“Great job!” Sue said when I stepped off the couch. “The mirror looks beautiful.”

“And for once,” I replied admiringly, “it’s a nice reflection on me.”

— Jerry Zezima

Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Tribune News Service, which distributes it to newspapers nationwide and abroad. He is also the author of five books, Leave It to Boomer, The Empty Nest Chronicles, Grandfather Knows BestNini and Poppie’s Excellent Adventures and Every Day Is Saturday, all of which are “crimes against literature.” He has won seven awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for his humorous writing.

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