Derek Gentile: Some baby pictures just aren't for sharing

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PITTSFIELD >> The talk on my Facebook page the other day was about baby pictures. Specifically, why I don't post any. Of me, since I don't have children. Well, I said it's because I don't have any.

That is, I'm afraid, a bald-faced lie. Sorry Facebook pals.

I do have photos. Lots of black-and-whites of little Derry at six months, a year, 18 months and more.

The problem is, I look like an idiot.

No, no, no. This is not some misplaced vanity column. I know I looked goofy in pictures growing up, with my ridiculous crew cut, bulbous head and toothy smile. This is worse.

I think it all stemmed from the fact that I was the first kid my folks had. There was no blueprint. Dignity went out the window in favor of cute.

I recall flipping through the family scrapbook at about age 8. There was little Derek in a cowboy suit and hat. There was Derry-doodle in a Superman shirt and later, my Spider-Man shirt. That was fine.

Then I turned the page.

There I was, at about 1 year old, lying on a white blanket, wearing a bowler hat and with cigar in my right hand. Naked.

In the picture, I was laughing. I'm sure I looked hilarious, which led to my parents laughing. Since I was Mr. Accommodating in those days, I was probably laughing right along with them.

There were maybe five more. Me wearing a watch cap (and nothing else). Me with an apple (some kind of Adam and Eve thing? Who knows?) Me sitting on a chair wearing just a tie. Me wearing a dang party hat!

I thought, What the hell? What is this clothesless crap? I had some nice baby clothes. My little Winnie the Pooh pyjamas with those built in booties. My cool red underwear body suit. What was wrong with those?

Deep down, I knew. I was the first kid. Mom and dad, with no blueprint, wanted to take some cute pictures. I was chubby, I had that Gerber baby face, and I was one of those babies who was always good-natured. I think they just wanted to have something to remember me by when I grew older and more bad-tempered.

So I let it slide. As I grew older, I was less concerned about it. And when my mother died a while ago, one of my sisters got all the old scrapbooks. And I'm sure my relatives think those pictures are so-o-o-o-o cute.

Well, they may be. But no one outside of my immediate family is ever going to see me in a blasted bowler hat with a blasted cigar!

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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