I never understood how my dad could see me in the rearview mirror when I was being bad in the car. I would clobber one of my brothers with the tire iron or some freshly-blessed palm fronds, or a copy of Little House on the Prairie, and Dad would clap that mirror right on me and glare.
I couldn’t move a limb even to wipe my brother’s blood off my arm or anything. After about a minute, I’d become fascinated by looking in the mirror and not seeing myself. Why the hell was I seeing him and not myself? He was facing away from me! I still can’t explain it.
Still happens, too, if I see a mirror. Not if my hair is down, of course. But if it’s up in a braid and if I don’t turn my head, his Viking eyes and iron features flash back at me. And it’s not at all flattering. Not that he’s an ogre or anything. I’ve just never been very good with mirrors.
What are mirrors for, really? Popping zits? If you didn’t have a mirror, you wouldn’t see your zits anyway. And if your lover doesn’t want to look at your zits, let him or her pop them. Mirrors were not invented for their utility.
I’ve decided they are metaphysical. Mostly because I’ve never been very good at metaphysics, either. All I know is that a mirror is not an apparatus invented by humans. I mean, think about it. Mirrors existed since the Big Bang formed the laws of physics in the first place. As soon as liquids could form, there have been reflective surfaces. In other words, God invented the mirror.
I ask again, for what purpose? Obviously, to kill people for His own pleasure. Narcissus starved to death gazing at his own reflection in the water. My dad’s mirror glare could zap me like a lightning bolt from Zeus. Wouldn’t kill me outright, but it certainly killed my willfulness for a few minutes.
Little kids are also a type of mirror. Nobody invented that. When Sean was little and waving the butcher knife around the dog or my zipper, I would grab it and say, “Thank you.” I did that for a couple of months, until he grabbed something from my hand and said, “Thank you.” Okay, I learned my lesson. That’s what mirrors are for. To chastise the human race.
And God’s plan would have worked out fine, too, except the human race had to go and develop technology that allows us to hide from mirrors. Beer was first. With a nice brown foam on top of your beer, there’s no drunk staring back at you as you raise your glass. Running tap water was next. No well or calm spring pool to look down into every morning displaying your conscience.
Getting taller was next. Lucy was a short little shit about three feet tall. As the human race got taller, we never raised the mirrors in our houses. By the time I was seventeen, all I could see in the mirror was my tits. Thus, I have no conscience anymore. Blessed relief.