The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Simple Life

I have a thing for sepia-toned photographs of children wearing adult clothing. In many such pictures, a young boy and girl are shown in love. Despite knowing that their love is obviously faked and staged for camera’s sake, the visual of two fresh-faced children locked in an embrace or puckering up for a bird peck enigmatically incites reverie. We know their love is counterfeit, but nevertheless, its representation catapults us back in time to a place where life was simpler and more honest—to a time before requisite affectations and trendy neck chokers.

Many college-aged adults prefer to decorate their rooms with posters of half-naked women (or according to my women’s studies teacher: “someone’s mother or daughter”), beer bottles (same teacher: “symbols of phallic oppression”) and other assorted visuals of debauchery that most of us are well acquainted with. Not me. I don’t possess the necessary party credentials to pull off such a décor. It would be like Tyra Banks having a room that wasn’t anything but pictures of Tyra Banks. It would be false and unseemly.

I have several posters in my room: Thelonious Monk performing at Expo 67 in Montreal, Radiohead’s Ok Computer album cover, a blown-up Trainspotting screencap; but my crowning piece situated above my mantle is a 36” x 24” photograph of Kim Anderson’s “forget-me not.” I know what you’re thinking. The girls come to my bedroom in droves.

You’re right... if you include my mother, female cousins, and the French nanny who lives next door.

I’m not a sensitive lad of the “emo” persuasion nor am I trying to be hip and ironic; I just think it’s a cool image that’s fun to wake up to in the morning. It helps keep me grounded and reminds me at the start of each day that life need not be performed at a breakneck pace to be enjoyable. Living life to the fullest is oftentimes living life to the simplest.

I imagine in this picture that the couple met while working at a diner in Milford, Delaware. He was a short-order cook who specialized in elaborate omelets (so long as customers didn’t elaborate beyond eggs, cheese and sausage) and she a waitress who was charmingly miserable at her job. He was two years older and two inches taller and could have easily courted Deborah, the diner’s pretty hostess who already had a luminous front row of adult teeth, but something about Susie’s magnificent incompetence and unprepossessing beauty enamored him. They married six months later and purchased a small two-bedroom home in Norwood, Ohio. He got a job in Cincinnati selling medical equipment and she could not have been prouder. Every morning before he boarded the train bound for the city, she would plant a fatty wet one on him, which he never wiped off. Their days were always simple, always fulfilling.

~Ian M. Johnson


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