Jewish World Review Jan. 23, 2004/ 29 Teves, 5764

Greg Crosby

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Finger men and more | I was driving my car the other day and almost ran it into a tree after laughing so hard on hearing a guy on the radio describe presidential candidate Howard Dean as looking like a big thumb. It's true - he does! Dean really looks like a thumb! It's uncanny. The guy went on to say that when Dean gets all fired up and starts to spew, he looks like a Warner Bros. cartoon thumb that's been smashed with a hammer - all red and throbbing. But that made me think …if Dean is the thumb, which fingers are the other candidates?

I nominate John Kerry for the middle finger; due to his low class use of four-letter words when being interviewed and because … well, with his long slender head he just looks like the middle finger. Wesley Clark is like the third finger, indistinctive, with no real strength - always there but having very little individuality. John Edwards claims he's the only candidate running a "positive" campaign, always pointing out the others as being "negative" so that makes Edwards the pointer finger. This leaves good ol' Joe Lieberman as the little pinky at the end. As for Al Sharpton, since we've run out of fingers he can be the big toe.

While we're on the subject of what people look like, has anyone noticed that Kobe Bryan looks like an ant? My wife noticed it first, so I took a long, hard look and I'll be darned if she isn't right (although he also sort of looks like Jiminy Cricket).

Katherine Hepburn looked like a giraffe. Matter of fact, she said so herself in the movie, "Holiday," with Cary Grant. Character actor, Sam Jaffe always looked like a monkey to me - one of those little monkeys the organ grinder guys had. I don't know what kind of animal I look like, I don't even want to think about it.

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Interesting how there are some people who resemble other people and there are some people who look like no one else in the world. Tom Brokaw looks a little like George W. Bush. There are certain faces that we see over and over again in our daily lives. I've seen people who resemble Rosie O'Donnell, for instance. And Matt Damon's face seems to be on a lot of young guys these days. On the other hand, no one looks like Cary Grant, or Bob Hope. Ever see anyone who looks like Jay Leno?

As far as Presidents go, Harry Truman looked like a lot of men of his time; Richard Nixon looked like no one else. Lincoln had a unique face for any time, Gerald Ford does not. The same rule holds true for First Ladies. Rosaline Carter and Betty Ford look like many women I've seen, Barbara Bush, too. The faces of Jackie Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt, however, are not as common.

Then there are people who have several faces, like Michael Jackson, Cher, and Joan Rivers. Other multi-facial folks are Nancy Sinatra, Michael Douglas, and now Meg Ryan. Hollywood used to be populated with a lot of two-faced people, now they have three or four faces. In Michael Jackson's case, he might be a member of the face-of-the-month club.

Phyllis Diller has had her face lifted so much that all her doctors have hernias. There are hundreds of face-lift jokes that have been done about Phyllis Diller over the years, most of them told by Phyllis herself. Actually, she is one of the few multi-faced people who have managed to really look better after each lift. No kidding. But it's no wonder, when you consider where she started from - there was no where to go but up.

In general I've perceived a change in the faces of children in recent years. They seem not as happy, somehow. Many have a wise guy look to them, others look just plain bored. It's a jaded expression that has no business being on the face of a child. Maybe I'm reading too much of what I sense as lost innocence into their faces. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope so. Children's faces should be the light of the world.

But if I am right about children's faces, maybe it's because kids today are exposed to way too much reality. After all, a kid's world should be made up of make-believe and dreams. There's enough time to face reality when you grow up, for heaven's sake. Kids need to develop their imagination through fantasy. If they don't, they may never discover the wonder of noticing that some people just happen to look like fingers and thumbs while others resemble insects and animals.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.

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© 2004 Greg Crosby