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Friday, 6 November 2009

Poster boy.



I once dated a man who had ambitions to become an actor. In that he was simply following a family tradition. His older brother had enjoyed early career success and at one point looked destined to become a major Hollywood film star and even married into English theatrical royalty. My ex had a less than stellar career by comparison to his sibling, so it was comparatively easy to avoid seeing his image or hearing his voice and the painful memories they both evoked. Then he became the “face” of a UK camera and printer company. For 6 months, I had to be chary of watching independent television lest his commercial pop up. That was bad enough but then the company posted a massive billboard image of him along my street. I averted my gaze whenever I walked past his poster which seemed to be gloating at me.

The only time I have ever been mistaken for an actress was at a theatrical garden party at St Pauls, Covent Garden, known colloquially as the Actors’ Church. Its other claim to fame was that Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary seeing the first ever Punch and Judy show in England in the piazza outside. On a whim I decided to have my fortune read and the following is my recollection of the dialogue between me and the gypsy palmist in her little tent.
“Are you an actress?”
“No.”
“Are you a dancer? “
“No.”
“So what do you do? she asked in exasperation.
“I work in Corporate Finance.”
You should be in showbiz, “she admonished.
She looked at my heart line.
 “You will have two husbands and you are already involved with one of them.”
“I am not.”
“You are!” she insisted, brooking no argument.
She looked at my life line and shook her head.
“Oh dear,” she sighed.
“What is it?“ I asked with growing curiosity.
“Never go parachuting or hang-gliding,” she warned.
And to this day I never have! I imagine myself jumping from a plane. After a while I pull on my first chute. It fails to open. I pull on the reserve chute and it too fails to open. Just before I smash into the ground I think with some regret, “That palmist was right after all.”   

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