Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Essay: "My Face." Robert Benchley.

Review: Someone once said that the only thing you can never describe is your face in the mirror. Benchley goes further than that: He notes that his face in the mirror is always changing. "One day I look like Wimpy, the hamburger fancier in the Popeye the Sailor saga. Another day it may be Wallace Beery."
"Some mornings, it I look in the mirror soon enough after getting out of bed,, there is no resemblance to any character at all, either in or out of fiction, and I turn quickly to look behind me, convinced that a stranger has spent the night with me and is peering over my shoulders in a sinister fashion, merely to frighten me."
His fascination with seeing his face can also be found when photographs are passed around. He pretends to be interested when he is not in the picture, but he studies with fascination his appearance when he is included.
Benchley concludes this study of his own face by noting his "...impersonal fascination not unmixed with awe at Mother Nature's gift for caricature."
The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books. 1995.

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