On my last visit to my Zen teacher in New York, I asked him if he minded if I took a picture of him. I fully expected Kyudo Nakagawa to accede and was surprised when he did not. When I asked him why, he said with a mild testiness, "I am getting old." I wondered vaguely if he had a vain streak.
Today, I had a picture taken of me -- one to be used by a friend who has said he will make me a rakusu. The object was to gauge how long the rakusu straps should be. I was vaguely stunned when I looked at the picture. Who the hell is that old geezer, sallow and bent?! Was that really a picture of me? But of course it was.
I think I will follow in the footsteps of my teacher. Who needs reminders like that? If I have to choose between vanity and a reality check, I guess I'll take vanity. Without photos, I can shave 20 years off my age.