On Second Glance

Deer Postscript and Literary Angst

Karen O'Keefe's dog Ruby

My dog Ruby stands inside the now-open gates of the stormwater management enclosure where two fawns had been trapped.

The two trapped fawns are free. Two county employees came to the locked gate at the county storm water management pond and cut the heavy chain.  They opened the gate wide – staking each side to a nearby sapling — and freed the two fawns.

The twins were spotted yesterday munching something in my yard.  I guess that’s a fitting outcome.

Thanks to all the readers of my first blog who rooted for them.

I believe you made a difference.

I’ll keep you “posted” on their progress, as we say in blog-world.

I have to say that in the beginning, I was very nervous about writing a blog.

Then the light dawned. I had an epiphany.

I realized that the long-term success or failure of this blog would — just as the marketing success of a book depends on its cover — depend on the picture.

Not the picture of deer either – the picture of Karen.

A photo! The sun went down.

Existential angst shrouded me like the steam in a steam room.

Suddenly I had to face the question I had been avoiding for years.

Who am I anyway?

Am I a smile-type of gal? Do I wear glasses all the time or only to see? Does the top of my neck hang below my chin?

It was decided I needed to get over it — and my husband was going to take pictures for two days until we got one I liked.

Suddenly make-up, not writing, was the number one preoccupation of my life.

I knew the single most essential ingredient of the photo was going to be eyeliner — that skinny line of liquid or greasy pencil that you paint or drag along your eyelid just above the eyelashes.

I need glasses, I cannot see well enough to apply eyeliner.  My husband does not wear glasses but he cannot apply eyeliner either.

In desperation, I sat down with three girlfriends the morning my husband was supposed to take my picture. I explained the problem: I’m having a blog photo taken and I need help with eyeliner, which is the single determining factor in a successful blog.

I was hoping one of them would offer to put the eyeliner on for me right there at the table.

To my astonishment, they ignored my eyeliner problem, and proffered “ideas” about my hair.

“What will you ‘do’ about your hair?”

It turns out I do not comb my hair properly.  It turns out I need to stop sticking it behind my ears. It turns out there is a problem with my roots.

Above all, I was told, that I need “Product” in my hair.

“Product” is a mysterious substance that is a gel, a mousse, a lotion or a spray.

I now realized that the success or failure of my blog was dependent on eyeliner and “product.”

I assured my girlfriends that I had “product” at home and would use some for the picture.

I gently tried to turn the conversation back to eyeliner.

Instead, ominously, they turned to the much broader area of “make-up.”

When they finished, I went across the street to Lake Forest Mall. There, because it was early, I waited on a bench for the department stores to open. I felt like a naughty child waiting in the principal’s office.

In the store, I asked about eyeliner because I was having my picture taken.

After a discrete assessment, I feel I was sent to the specific cosmetic vendor the polite employee felt fit my “makeup demographic” – summed up as “white and old.”

I sat on a high, padded stool, and put myself in the hands of a beautiful young woman who agreed to put some make-up, including eyeliner, on me.

For my part, I assured the young woman that I would be buying “something” before I left.

After cleaning my already-washed face and showing me a cotton pad that looked like it had been used to clean a truck’s exhaust pipe, the beautiful young woman became confused.

She looked at me and narrowed her eyes. She tilted her head to the side. She pursed her lips worriedly.

She was holding a bottle in each hand. A nano-crease appeared between her brows indicating concern.

When a make-up lady frowns even a little, you’ve got real problems.

My stomach knotted.

“Do you worry more about the oversized pores on your face?” She raised the bottle in her left hand.

“Or is it the sagging and the many lines that bother you?”  She indicated the bottle in her right hand.

“You mean we can only fix one for the picture,” I said sadly.

“Today,” she said.  “However, when you begin to use our products every day, both will improve,” she said soothingly.

“You decide,” I said. How naïve I had been to think eyeliner was the key to a successful blog.

I needed a new head.

Ninety minutes and more than $100 later, I left – a bottle of pore stuff and a bottle of wrinkle stuff wrapped in delicate tissue paper and tucked into a bag under my arm.

Once the picture was taken, I realized the truth.

The success of this blog will have nothing to do with eyeliner.

This blog will succeed or fail based on the brief autobiography that accompanies it.

Funny how anxiety can distort things.

See you next week.


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Karen O'Keefe

About Karen O'Keefe

Karen O’Keefe has been a freelance writer in Atlanta, GA and Montgomery County, MD, since 1984. Prior to that time, she worked for a committee in the U.S. House, a public relations firm and as a Congressional press secretary. Since 2003, O’Keefe has been a regular news reporter and columnist for The Town Courier, an independent biweekly newspaper based in Gaithersburg. Her blog, “On Second Glance,” explores everyday life and current events with insight, grace and humor.

4 Responses to “Deer Postscript and Literary Angst”

  1. On August 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm Jackie responded with... #

    I again love this one. Always bringing tears to my eyes :)

  2. On August 27, 2012 at 10:08 pm Linda Mitkus responded with... #

    You are correct eyeliner and pore minimizer do not make the person. You have a lovely smile and the world would love to see it!

  3. On August 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm Nance responded with... #

    Karen, You are too funny. I, myself have never worn eyeliner…….but I have witnessed the look of a youngin’ as she critiques my make up style.
    And by the way, as we age, do we only have TWO areas to worry about? Alleluia! I was certain there were more areas of concern.

  4. On September 4, 2012 at 1:47 pm Lezlie Kay responded with... #

    You are tooooo funny…. I love the makeup that settles into the lines on my face and makes them more visible. Can’t wait until next week………………..

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