ROMEO S. RUMBAOA, former police chief of Bangui and currently the chief security officer at the Capitol, tells me every time he gets the chance that I look much younger in person than in my photo in this space. The first time he told me that, I ignored it, thinking that he might be mistaking me for dear friend and fellow columnist Steve Barreiro whose hair, or the lack of it, is similar to mine. Steve is decades wiser than I am. But Rumbaoa says he is really fond of our Riknakem, and I figured he truly is when he started giving me insights on specific articles he liked. I therefore decided to take his observation seriously.
I somehow believe that my column photo should really approximate how I look in person. As this is not the case, some changes must be made. The first option would be for me to undergo cosmetic facial surgery, but I decided against it for two reasons. First, I do not have money for the procedure. God knows how expensive it could get, and even if I had the means, I still would not splurge on it. I am sure there could be better uses for my money, ranging from sending an impoverished child to school to finally taking the Thailand trip I have long dreamed. Secondly, I would not go under the knife on fear of having a botched operation and ending up looking like Michael Jackson, Madam Auring, or Loi Estrada, who really look the same I have a difficult time distinguishing one from the other.
The second option is to do some magic on the photo. In this digital age, they call it Photoshop. I thus requested my friend Sharon Laeda, a skillful graphic artist, to “fix” the pic. But, problem is Sharon found no problem with the mug shot. She saw no wrinkles and fine lines to conceal, no eye bags to hide, and no white hair to color. It was a good photo, she opined. And, if there is nothing wrong with the photo, then it must be my face.
The old corny joke goes this way: “if you have a problem, face your problem. But how can you face the problem if your problem is your face?” Fortunately for me, I have a third option, which is much less expensive than plastic surgery, and is not at all risky: just change the picture. And so I did. The new photo in this column is courtesy of Ronan Joseph Domingo, a young photographer who is steadily gaining a reputation as one of the best lensmen in Ilocos. Ronan is a student at the MMSU College of Education.
I hope Mr. Rumbaoa finds the new picture acceptable. If he still thinks I look old in the photo, maybe I am really old, or look old. But it is not really a problem, is it?