For my birthday, Hilary is painting my portrait. Great big, semi-traditional oil painting, suitable for hanging in the stupid Great Room. Or the Hall of Egos. Except for this: Hilly (Hilary Cooper) is a sensational portrait painter… one of the best in New York, if I do say so myself. And this portrait is alive. It is so utterly “me” – for good or ill – that I am absolutely flabbergasted. How did she do that? And it’s an interesting “painting”, besides. Not so common in this field, believe me. Anyhow, I am delighted to think that this will be the “version” of me folks will see when I am (ugh) totally dead. And for quite a while before that. I am an impatient soul, and thought the sitting process would make me nuts. But she did this like the wind (in five or six hours over three days), while we listened to books-on-tape (The Bully Pulpit) and made small talk. And now look.
If we manage to run a copy with this blog, you may wonder why does he love that? Doesn’t look so amazing to me. Well, I love it for three reasons. One, because I know what she had to work with. Two, because I am terminally self-absorbed. And, three, because – come hell or high water or Lou Gehrig’s disease – it is a terrific painting which people will look at with interest and maybe pleasure, whether they know me or not. Forever. Pretty nice birthday present.