Photo a Day Challenge: June 30 – You, Excited for June

Austin Light photo

They invited me to a photo shoot.

Seven-hundred-fifty employees here – mostly young, wholly beautiful – and they invited the Gen Xer in dire need of a haircut. They’re for a campaign for our wonderful company. I took my place at the end of the couch, blending in with the Beautiful Six.

Blending in like an armadillo in a fox parade.

I folded my arms, fussed with my hair. I worried about my graying mop. Did I trim my nose hair? This can’t end well. Under bright lights, I told a joke when photographers asked us to “look natural.”

“So, a Roman walks into a bar,” I offer from left field. “He holds up two fingers and says, ‘five beers please.'”

The handsome boy in the middle laughed. So too did the French girl with smiling eyes, next to him, the one in glasses with olive skin, and the girl with the piercings, tattoos and sparkling smile. I looked away, equal parts embarrassed and delighted.

I feel all Mario Lopez or at least Albie Lopez, and I begin to strut. Then I pass a mirror, and think, ‘oh man.’

That’s when Austin, my former boss who held a camera, said, “this is going to be your next profile pic, Eli.”

I hate pictures of myself. You know the friend you have who always feels they look worse than they do? I’m the opposite. I feel all Mario Lopez or at least Albie Lopez, and I begin to strut. Then I pass a mirror, and think, ‘oh man.’

It didn’t take long for Austin to send me this pic on Slack. I … liked it. It revealed my gray and my softened lines and a pair of glasses my girls HATE, but a pretty girl in the parking deck said she loved, and also the most popular boy at work did, too.

“I’m so attracted to you in those,” he said once. He’s totally hetero, so points, right?

Anyway, I’ve finally finished the June Photo Challenge, and July’s just a week longer. That’s me, all right. June and July run together and I get them both mixed up with January, which makes no sense.

Today, I’m happy for June, with it’s struggles and triumphs, for the July it occupied space in, and hell, August, too. So many adventures lie ahead. And this is me. Not the slightly more chiseled me of past photos, but me, today.

Unkempt, older, and optimistic. In glasses loved and hated, in a shirt Grace picked for me to boost my fashion.


[Check out the photo challenge we’re taking, here.]


excitement quote




  1. TP Hogan says:

    You look happy, friendly and approachable. Love it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      TP! Thanks. Much better than angry, unsociable and standoffish.

  2. Yvonne says:

    You look like a person we could all like and trust. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I promise, if you leave your wallet out, I won’t touch it. I promise, if you leave a plate of cookies out … I won’t touch your wallet.

      1. Yvonne says:

        I believe you,Eli.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Thanks. Where are the cookies?

      3. Yvonne says:

        I ate them.

  3. cricketmuse says:

    Yup, the glasses are hip. And grey is the new blonde.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think the kids feel the glasses are *too* hip for me. I like my silver.

      1. cricketmuse says:

        Kids don’t realize their parents are people. My 23 year old just had this epiphany. *tsk*

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Were we like that, as kids?

      3. cricketmuse says:

        Most definitely

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Hey Thanks, Kath.

  4. stomperdad says:

    We may not be chisled like were in past photos, but we are defintely upgraded. Amazing how much influence a pretty girl can have.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Chiseled was a total overstatement, brother!

      1. stomperdad says:

        Chisled is spot on. Like that guy in Rome, except dressed.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Usually, when I’m compared to “that guy in Rome,” he’s a taste-tester at a restaurant.

      3. stomperdad says:

        Better than me. There isn’t anyone in Rome I’ve been compared to 🙂

  5. rachel says:

      1. rachel says:

        de nada. x

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I do need a haircut.

  6. Nikki says:

    This makes me smile.

  7. mocadeaux says:

    I agree with TP and Yvonne. You look happy, friendly and comfortable. Great picture!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Hey, thanks, Mo. Every time I go to Harris-Teeter in Southpark, they make the announcement, “security, please scan all areas and report to manager.” I’m serious!

  8. Lulu says:

    Those glasses are fabulous. Or, should I say, wicked awesome! This was my favorite part: “Today, I’m happy for June, with it’s struggles and triumphs, for the July it occupied space in, and hell, August, too.” It made me feel happy, too, for whatever month this is – hot and humid is hot and humid and they all kind of run together, but each day is its own tiny blessing. So happy to hear your optimism!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Lulu! Better yet to be wicked awesome. I’ve gotten comments, mostly good. Instead of waiting for the first of the month to have a new start, I find myself trying for a new start throughout each month.

      It’s so hot and it’s so humid. But it feels good to be able to complain about it, doesn’t it? It’s good to be alive.

  9. Kisma says:

    Someone I am proud to call one of my best friends! This is an awesome pic Eli and shows the real you. Looking back at old pictures, I would love to look like the girl in the picture of my high school senior ID. Best picture I think I have ever taken.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m proud to say the same, Tiff. It is the real me, as I am now. I’m seasoned and I’ve survived. That’s better to me than going back to my youthful blank canvas.

  10. Great photo, Eli! I’m always a fan of smiling pix with people not looking at the camera. SO much more natural!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Britt! He caught me in a good moment. I still need a haircut!

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