Difficult Conversations: Dad, You Look Like LeninPosted: January 11, 2013
What I’m going to tell you is what I saw. I wasn’t the only person to see him; another driver paused to allow him to cross on the green light. Whether that driver identified him, I can only speculate. Perhaps they didn’t give him a second look. Maybe they thought he was just another early morning pedestrian. He wasn’t.
He was Lenin. No, not Lennon. Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich. Yes, that Lenin. Pretty much that Lenin.
I Ain’t Afraid Of No Lenin
I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about communists infiltrating my town. Sure, the workers control the means of production, but banking is premier here. If you dropped a million communists on the city, nothing would change, except maybe traffic.
If I made a list of dead Soviet revolutionaries who could come to life and slip into town, I’d put Lenin at the bottom of the list. It isn’t that I don’t think he was a very mobile guy. In fact, I think he could have taken Karl Marx in a one on one basketball game. Maybe he wouldn’t win every time they played, but three out of five games for sure.
Lenin would be on the bottom of my list because we all know that when he died, the Russians preserved him in a snow globe apparatus in Moscow. So, while Marx might tunnel his way out on a dark night when no one is looking, Lenin’s environment limits his escape options. If he gets out, it’ll cause a gush of water and fake snow that will give him away.
There have been no stories of a truck load of super-absorbent ShamWow towels pulling up to the Kremlin. It is pretty likely that Lenin is still in his private winter wonderland. So who did I see?
I Don’t Know
I can’t tell you. I do know that this man looked exactly like the guy in the snow globe. Same face, same distinctive eyebrows. He was partially bald. Those are things this man, who probably wasn’t even named Vladimir, can not help. Some people are born with the same bone structure as Desmond Tutu. Others might look like Millard Fillmore, but no one cares. This man has Lenin-esque features through no fault of his own.
The man chose to emphasize his Lenin-ness with the same mustache and beard as the old revolutionary. He also wore a long winter coat over his suit and tie, and he wore that hat. You know which hat I’m talking about. The hat that no one in the United States wears; the one that old V.I.Lenin was usually pictured wearing.
Normally, I’d blame him for whatever suffering looking like a famous Soviet caused him. He can’t do anything about the shape of his face or his hair pattern. Growing the same facial hair and dressing like Lenin is a choice, an especially bad one for this gentleman. I don’t blame him. I blame the people around him.
Ever heard your recorded voice? I’ll bet you don’t sound like you thought you did. I think what we see in the mirror and what others see are equally different. This man has nothing to gain by being a Lenin impersonator in one of the most capitalistic cities anywhere. He has innocently strayed into his situation by being ignorant of how he looks to the world. It is the job of the people around him to say things like “are you sure you want to wear this hat?” His family’s obligation is to point out that people don’t grow that particular style of facial hair anymore.
No one likes to have that sort of unpleasant talk with their loved ones. I’m certainly not saying anyone should ever just utter the words “Dad, you look like Lenin, you’ve got to shave.” I am saying that they should consider that strangers are muttering Lenin jokes behind their father’s back, then have that talk.
I didn’t ask the man to look like Lenin. I just told you what I saw.