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Mirror, mirror

Published May 12. 2012 09:01AM

When Hollywood decided that Julia Roberts would make a good Wicked Queen in a modern re-make of "Snow White," I had to giggle. Surely, they must be kidding. But, while watching the preview ads, I noticed that Julia seemed to be relishing the role.

After playing so many "Pretty Woman"-type roles, Julia probably grabbed up a change of pace. But, I hope that the director found a GORGEOUS young woman to play Snow White. After all, when Julia as the Wicked Queen asks her mirror "Who's the fairest of them all?" any self-respecting magic mirror would reply, "Well, of course, you are, my fair lady!" That would stop the story in its tracks.

The older we get, the less we enjoy holding up a mirror to our image. Seeing ourselves in an unforgiving looking glass is a humbling event. Needless to say, very few of us look like Julia Roberts. In our mind's eye, we can still be 21 in spirit, but the mirror shows our 71 years of gray hair and wrinkles.

When I taught English many moons ago, I often used a poem by an anonymous poet. This piece helped me to illustrate to my students the conflicting visions of reality we can have.


When you reach your goal in the world of sports

And you played the big game that day,

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself

And see what the man has to say.

For it isn't your family or friends

Or the coaches whose judgment upon you must pass.

The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the one staring at you from the glass.

You may be lucky and win the big game,Thinking you are a wonderful guy,

But the man in the glass says you're only a bum

If you can't look him straight in the eye.

He's the fellow to please, never mind all the rest,

For he's with you clear to the end;

And you have passed your most dangerous, difficult test

If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool all the world down the pathway of years,

And get pats on the back as you pass;

But your only reward will be remorse and regret

If you've cheated the man in the glass.

There's an old saying - "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." Add another line to that - "And you can never fool yourself."

In our heart of hearts, we know who we truly are. We also know the difference between right and wrong. We know we're not 21 and youthful. We are really 71 years old with aches and pains and gray hair and wrinkles.

Children love to play in fantasy worlds. They create imaginary characters - whether with dolls, cutouts, stuffed animals, or action figures. That kind of play is healthy and normal for children.

But, I know some adults who create fantasy worlds, too. They pretend they are rich when they're not, that the drinking and gambling they do is harmless, that the high-fat diet they eat won't make them ill, and that the lack of time they spend with their children is excusable.

Make someone take a look at herself in the mirror. It requires a great amount of courage. You must try to see what is truly there. Only then can you take steps toward understanding and accepting yourself.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, be kind to me. I'm not Julia.


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