"I am 3. Maybe. I look like Frances Farmer after a rough night fighting Hollywood phonies. Definitely. I am dressed like a clown. Sadly. I am opening a box. Of something. I want to remember. Badly. But I can't.
My Christmas memories don't kick in until the mid-1970s, a few years after this picture was taken, a few years after my parents stopped taking pictures on account of they were old and tired, a condition with which I now empathize as I am now old and tired (although blessed to be able to take pictures without having to worry about whether my Magicube supply is running low).
In the late 1970s, my younger brother and I began to chronicle our family Christmases on our own, which means the red-letter day I came into possession of an Oscar Goldman "action" figure was preserved on film.
But there is a gap. There are lost Christmases waged on brown, Astroturf-hard carpet that I see only in my mind's eye.
I look at this photo — this photo before the gap — and I think one thing: I should have brushed my hair. After all, you never know when a random Christmas photo, not unlike an impromptu Nick Nolte mugshot, is going to be your defining moment.
Also, the clown suit. Really?"
Living room on Cedar Street, Glendale, California