I had a huge crush on my older cousin, Jake, when I was a girl. He was an artist-type, obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes, and very nice. Swoon. Sure, he was my cousin, but I felt that cousin-love was totally misunderstood. It would be a few years before I’d make the cousin-love/incest/birth defect connection. I’m from Nebraska, after all, so the inbred love fantasy probably doesn’t surprise anyone a whole lot.
Once my older sister, Ellen, humiliated me in front of the object of my incestuous affection. My girls love to hear about it now. It was toward the end of summer in the 80’s and my mom was holding our annual garage sale. My aunt brought our cousins over to play and as soon as their car pulled into the driveway I began to desperately dig through the flashy plastic jewelry which was displayed on a card table.
Ellen rushed to my aid, “Here Mary,” she slid the cap off of a fuchsia colored tube of lipstick and began to twist the base, “Let me put some lipstick on you, Jake will love it!”
“Perfect,” I thought to myself. I puckered up and Ellen applied the garish shade to my face. As soon as she finished I ran out of the garage to greet my irresistible cousin. I expected him to stop, dead in his tracks, cheeks red and hearts circling his head. Instead, he snickered. I was confused… I looked to my other cousin and he was laughing, too.
My aunt chuckled, “Mary, you look like Bozo the Clown!”
I turned around and bolted into the house. As I ran past my mom, she saw my face and chided my big sister, “Ellen! What did you do to her face?!”
I looked in the bathroom mirror, Ellen had outlined my lips with lipstick. There wasn’t a trace of it actually on my lips and I did look like a clown.
I can’t believe I didn’t feel Ellen apply the lipstick all over my skin. I was a gullible little kid. At least we all laugh about it now.
I’m thankful, too, that the flames for my cousin Jake have died down. But, lucky for the world, he’s still an artist–a talented, prolific one at that. I always find his work interesting because he does a lot of portraits. Personally, I love to draw portraits because the human face is forgiving, and you can add lines or shadows here and there and still make something that resembles a human face. Jake can draw an exact likeness of anyone. I love this drawing, John Ritter Gold Glitter. Check out the grill on John Ritter, homey. Though he used to paint a lot more, lately Jake has been doing a lot of drawings and even short animations. Check out his work at http://www.jakegillespie.com.
Jake’s work has been featured on the Rumpus (and many other noteworthy places), and in 2010 he did an interview about his work that’s certainly worth a read.