My wife and just moved into a place with a lot more wall area than the modest apartment we had left behind. Hating the empty spaces, she started pulling posters out of this Corbis images folder that fell in our lap a while back. One area she covered early was a computer nook tucked in the middle of the upstairs; out of consideration for my interests and hobby, she set up a “Shrine to Soccer,” and included in it an older image of David Beckham that looks quite a bit like the one below.
Before you get the wrong idea, my wife, in spite of not being wild about the game, knows more about soccer than 80% of Americans – if not a few more. Her decision to use Beckham’s image came down the fact she was going with a soccer theme and he’s a soccer player. Given her druthers, there’d be a big, hot, buttered Dema Kovalenko glowering over the computer, but Dema isn’t Beckham (and on a number of levels), so Corbis doesn’t photograph him, etc. etc. Besides, Beckham is easy on the eyes and, gosh darn it, I can’t think of anyone as nice who has that much license to be an asshole. So, Beckham it was in spite of the fact the photo, much like the one showing above, isn’t his best work…looks like something out of a cut-rate version of Playgirl…though not nearly as much as this one.
To go back a bit, my wife created the Shrine to Soccer when I was out shopping. It was meant as a little surprise and no one was as excited about showing it to me as my three-year-old daughter. After I got things put away, she led my upstairs to show my the pictures. The other picture didn’t arrest her attention nearly as much as that shot of Beckham. After looking at it for a while, she said, “He’s mean. See how his eyes are, daddy?” After she imitated his frown, I told her, no, that Beckham is supposed to be a very nice man, that he’s just posing for a photo. She thought for a second and then said, “No. He’s mean. He’s evil.” Yes, that was the word: “evil.”
Now, that could be the punchline to all this, but the real one came at 11:15 p.m. when my little girl woke up bawling at the top of the stairs. I run up to comfort her and ask her what’s wrong. She keeps crying, “I don’t like it! I hate the poster! Take it down! Take it down!” Because we had hung so many posters, I thought she was talking about the few in her room; this is, after all, a kid who recently decided a “Barbie Mansion” she once really liked is now “Monster House.” I finally calmed her down and, after confirming she wanted all her new posters, she closed her eyes again and went to sleep….only to wake up screaming two minutes later. “I hate it! Take it down!” Finally, she calms down enough and we figure out it’s the Beckham poster freaking her out. My wife pulls it down and tells her she put it away, but that’s not enough. She asks her mom, “Where did you put it? Where is the mean guy?” It wasn’t enough for her to have the poster down; she needed to know exactly where it was. Apparently, the power of Beckham’s evil emanates even from a poster.
The power of the image so rattled her, she refused to sleep in her own bed. Knowing my daughter may never sleep in her own bed again, I’m awaiting an apology from one David Beckham. And when he’s done apologizing to my daughter for scaring the (rest of the) bejesus out of her, he can apologize to the world for that god-awful picture. For the record, though, I’ll take an explanation of what the hell he was thinking when he sat for it.