Photo Finished

“This person is mid to early 30s — a young professional. He looks like he’s still trying to make it. He’s working for an investment firm on a commission basis. Maybe mortgages or stocks. He’s definitely single. He looks like he believes in Cleveland. He likes to be the big fish in the smaller market.”

The first thing you can tell from my photo is my age? One glance and out comes the age card?

I know I agreed to allow one of our participants in this month’s “First Impressions” feature (see page 112) to comment on my editor’s photo, but seriously, this isn’t some friggin’ carnival game where the right answer wins you a synthetically fuzzy, stuffed pooch for your girlfriend’s bedroom. I am a ...young professional ... and I have feelings.

Luckily, though, I’m not the obsessive type, or I’d wonder how our subject (Dizi) missed all the gray that materialized when I had my hair cut the day before this picture was taken. Otherwise Dizi would have certainly figured that I’m actually pushing mylate30s. (Ha, looks like your girlfriend isn’t going home happy tonight!)

And what about me gives off that climber vibe? Everyone knows that pink is the new black. A bold tie screams confidence, not “still trying to make it.”

(In fact, someone might want to send this photo toEsquirefor its Man at His Best section, because I don’t think I’ve ever tied a tie better in my life. Just look at that perfect dimple. Former Clevelander andEsquire writer Scott Raab, who we interview this month, would be proud.)

Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten my hair cut so short. All the kids are wearing it like Jim Morrison these days. But there’s a certain discipline inherent in a good, tight clipper-cut — any barber worth his comb knows that.

And just because my blue suit has a faint pinstripe I’m an investment guy ... on commission, for chrissake? Why not just call me the yuppie equivalent of a drug dealer?

Mortgages? Stocks? I hate numbers. Besides, look at my smile. It’s relaxed, sensitive, like a poet — only cooler. I love language, romance, cold nights curled up by the fireplace and long walks on the beach. ... That’s whyI’m married — with three kids!

It seems as though you’re suggesting I’m a player? That I hang out on West Sixth Street drinking imported beer and practicing pickup lines?

Maybe it’s the tie again. Or is it the pose? The photographer said he wanted to retake these pictures. I bet he thought I looked cheesy, like I was trying too hard. Even my mom mentioned the photo the first month it ran. She probably hates it, too.

Man, am I a tool.He believes in Cleveland.That bandwagon is about as empty as the RTA’s Waterfront Line — and here I am driving. Next thing you know I’ll be predicting a Browns trip to the Super Bowl or splashing “Best of Cleveland” across our October cover.

And who says Cleveland is asmaller market? It’s big enough for LeBron (at least for now). Why shouldn’t it be big enough for me? There’s plenty of room to swim around here without bumping into the sides of the tank.

Unbelievable. Actually, it’s incredible how much Dizi did get right: 30s, professional, never satisfied, believes in Cleveland, likes fish.

I think you’ll be equally surprised when you examine the work of associate editor Andy Netzel, photographer Billy Delfs and all the people who contributed their impressions. And if you’d like to participate, you can submit a photo or comment on other photos at

Hey, it’s just a picture, right?
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