Beautiful Thing

It's Not What You Have But Where It Points

People like Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Lopez, and countless other show biz hotties, are renowned for their striking beauty and perfect bods. Some were born that way and others had a bit of help in the nip and tuck department. As for the rest of us? Either we apply for Extreme Makeover or get by with what we have, whatever that may be.

But aren’t we all just a nose job, chin or cheek implant away from being one of them? You know, one of those Beautiful People who stop traffic and turn heads like appetizers on a Lazy Susan? Perhaps it’s just my chunky thighs or short, pudgy nose with the flared nostrils that prevent me from being a drop-dead beauty, the kind that leaves people slack-jawed and gaping. One quick swipe of my VISA (yes, plastic surgeons now take plastic) and maybe I too could cross that ethereal threshold from okay to exquisite.

Sigh, to be one of them. My credit balance is at zero and I have a high tolerance for pain. So like it says in the Nike commercial, why don’t I just do it?

Not that he’s around to offer his opinion. He was just 62 years old in 1990 when he was stricken with leukemia. His image is getting grainy in my mind, but the photos he left behind are crystal clear.

In them I see a man fiercely proud of his Irish heritage, with curly brown hair and roguish bright eyes the startling shade of paint can blue. A hardworking man who labored six days a week to provide for his family. An impish man with a wicked sense of humor who once hid a garter snake inside the coffee thermos of a co-worker. A gentle man who cried at Lassie movies, wore Star Trek t-shirts, and worshipped John Wayne. A compassionate man whose favorite saying was, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar” and practiced what he preached. President or peon, it didn’t matter: he treated everyone equally with kindness, consideration, and respect. A spiritual man who never attended church, yet talked comfortably and frequently with the Big Fella several times each day. I see a handsome man with a square jaw, straight white teeth, and tanned, leathery skin the result of working outdoors for 40 years as a construction worker. And I see one more thing: a man with a short, pudgy nose with flared nostrils.

The nose knows
Now my eyes are hazel, not blue, and my jaw is heart-shaped, not squared. I really don’t look like my dad all that much. But one thing is for sure: there is no doubt as to where I got that nose. It’s not perfect and maybe I am just a nose away from being an Are You Hot kind of woman. But when I’m thinking of my dad, when I’m missing him and wishing his memory wasn’t getting so darned fuzzy, all I have to do is look in the mirror.

There it is. Not the prettiest legacy he could have left me, but one I cherish simply because it reminds me of him.

Leave the VISA at home
Beauty can be bought, whether you’re a film star or file clerk. It’s just a matter of priorities. Maybe I’ll never make the cover of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People, but I have my dad’s nose and the memories that go with it.