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Privacy in disguise

''Do you think Dad suspects anything, Mom?'' asked my 13-year-old son in his new three-piece suit.

''I don't think so,'' answered his mother, caught in a crush of shoppers at a nearby shopping plaza, ''but we'll have to keep an eye on his whereabouts until our appointment.''

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''When he finds out we brought him up here under false pretenses for this family portrait freebie, we may need a good lawyer,'' said my 20-year-old daughter.

''Dad just went into The Tee Shop,'' alerted my son. ''I'll shadow him and report back.''

''Why is Dad so camera shy?'' asked my daughter.

''Your father has always regarded posing in public with his family a gross violation of his privacy,'' explained my wife correctly.

''Dad gave me the slip,'' reported my returning son.

''No, there he goes into the Slax Barn in a new turquoise warmup jacket,'' observed my daughter, trotting off.

''I knew this would happen,'' sighed my wife. ''Glenn, stay here and wait for Karen while I check on our appointment time.''

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''I'm sorry, Mom,'' apologized my daughter when she had rendezvoused with her returning mother, but I ran into my boss's wife and lost Dad's trail.''

''Hold the phone! That's him in those checkered chinos in the doorway of the Sun Palace,'' said my son, galloping off.

''We have about ten minutes,'' said my wife apprehensively. ''I was told if we miss our turn, we'll forfeit our freebie, and heaven knows when I'll ever get your father to . . . .''

''Look, Mom!'' interrupted my daughter. ''Glenn's pointing at a man entering the Jogger Hut sporting some blue-tinted shades.'' ''I'll check this one out,'' volunteered my wife. ''Lasso your brother and meet me in the Hut.''

''This place is mobbed because of a sale on Nikes,'' said my harried spouse moments later, when the lookout team had regrouped. ''You father's vanished again.''

''I think Dad's on to us, Mom. We'd better give up,'' suggested my son.

''Let's head for our appointment,'' said my dispirited wife.

''Next time, pay the photographer to come to the house,'' offered my daughter , assessing her reflection in a shop window.

''There won't be a next time,'' vowed my wife. ''Your father's much too clever for us.''

Two weeks later, examining the proofs of the photo session, my son asked, ''Is that really you, Dad?''

''The only recognizable detail about you, Dad, is your nose,'' snickered my daughter.

''In that getup it's a wonder you weren't arrested for impersonating a husband and father,'' chided my spouse.

''It's what golfers under surveillance are wearing this season,'' I replied defensively.

''Well, until positive identification can be made, the three of us will pose with quiet dignity on this end of the piano, while whoever this is will keep his distance at the other end,'' decided my wife, placing the glossies accordingly.

A steep price to pay for anonymity.

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