Announcing the “My eyes! The goggles do nothing!” Contest.

DSCF6088.JPGThe delightful and possibly deranged Harley May has so brilliantly and accurately described the afternoon I had my author’s photo taken that there is no need for me to retell it here. If you want to see the hunnies filled details, check out Harley’s post.
Unbeknownst to Harley, there was an alternative photo: the one presented here. Inspired by Harley’s dramatic retelling of the first photo, I invite people to reveal the all-too-true story behind the alternative photo. What was I doing and what was going on when the photo above was taken? You tell me.
Leave your story behind the picture in the comments area below, or post it on your own website and leave a link below. I’ll leave the comments open until midnight Friday. At that time I will review them all and the one that I pick as the “official and true retelling” of the story behind the picture will be declared the winner.
What does the winner get? How about a copy of “First Contact” by the brilliant Evan Mandery? One copy of this funny, intelligent, and altogether yellow-covered book will be sent post haste (snail mail) to the winner.
Now, to my goggles, and away!

23 thoughts on “Announcing the “My eyes! The goggles do nothing!” Contest.

  1. I confess. It’s all my fault. Back in the day, when Sean was stalking agents, he’d follow me around on twitter trying to find my address or email. I sent him links, not to MY site of course, but to my frenemy agents, hoping he’d get the message. No such luck. He kept at it. Finally one night, my temper snapped. “Just Goggle it” I tweeted.
    And he did.

  2. The man burst into the lobby looking harried and a bit purple about the lips. “I have grim news,” he said.
    “Indeed?” I asked.
    “I’ve come from the past to warn you.”
    “The past? Wouldn’t it be more fitting to come from the future? After all, foreknowledge would be handier.”
    “Bah!” He slashed the air with his hand and adjusted the stylish aqua-blue goggles nestled above his nose. “I will be the judge of that.” He opened a leather pouch at his waist and withdrew a plump blueberry.
    “That’s a fine-looking blueberry you have there. Might I have one?”
    His face contorted into a look filled with wretched disgust that one might reserve for a common street urchin with his crusty nose firm against the glass of a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. “You would wreck the space-time continuum even worse than it currently is.”
    “With a blueberry?”
    He pressed the berry between his front teeth and popped it. A fresh coloring of blue stained his lips. He swallowed. “Let me show you. Fetch 3 sheets of white construction paper and a set of painting oils.
    I rushed off and returned with the required materials, but he had to make do with the water colors I stole from the company’s nursery (and that brat Timmy Jones who no doubt is a result of this discombobulated space-time continuum). The time traveler disapproved but like a true MacGyver, soldiered on with a make-do attitude.
    He taped the finished elements of his illustrations on the wall: two cut-out fish blowing bubbles, and an ill-defined congruence of colors spread upon a full sheet of paper.
    “I confess I don’t understand, sir,” I said as the hot flush of shame colored my face.
    “These goggles,” he said, pointing at the amber-tinted accessory on his face, “shall become quite the rage in the 50’s. And their influence will grow.”
    “Yours are much more stylish than mine,” I said, caressing the gentle contours of my purple-rimmed goggles. “But I still cannot see the connection to your illustrations.”
    He chuckled maniacally. “You people of the future have grown too soft from the use of your fancy digital watches, your pocket calculators, and your massive nineteen-inch televisions to see what is so obvious.”
    I crooked my arm and pressed my lovely digital watch to my bosom, instantly protective. But I choked back a defensive retort and let him continue.
    “The lenses on my goggles are amber as are yours.”
    The set of his jaw and rise of his eyebrow indicated a victorious declarative statement yet to come. Then a most surprising thing happened. A gentle tear glistened from within its amber cage.
    “It’s all too tragic.” He slumped. “When I wear my favorite goggles, I cannot tell the color of the fishies!”
    I could not bear to see such sadness without recording it for all eternity. I pulled out my Polaroid and snapped his picture. With that, he winked from my time and no doubt returned to his.
    I walked to the spot where he’d stood then stepped over to his illustrations, waiting for a time paradox to claim them from sight and memory. They remained. I pushed my goggles up and the true colors and glory of his masterpieces filled my uncovered eyes. I glanced at the Polaroid picture and the image as it slowly faded into existence.
    “Oh fishies,” I said. I leaned over and kissed them.

  3. Back before Sean Ferrell knew if this writing thing was going to work out for him, he auditioned for the role of Abe Sapien in Hellboy. This is the last piece of photographic evidence of his tragically short acting career.

  4. Obviously, he’s been doing research for a steampunk novel and living his characters. This is a snapshot of his research process.
    In an attempt to get a feel for his character’s life and daily routine, he put on these authentic steampunky goggles. Goggles made him think of swimming, so he set his story underwater and created a scary realistic Kingdom of the Goldfishies, as evidenced by the lovely pair on his wall.
    Goldfishie one and Goldfishie two (due for a name change during editing), are arguing about whether or not to show him where the super secret goldfishy kingdom is on their lovely topographical map type thing-a-ma-jobbie below them.
    Sean’s currently squirreled away in his writing lair, goggles in place, typing furiously about steam-powered diving machines.
    The colored lenses really do help.

  5. There once was a man from Nantucket.
    He has nothing to do with this story.
    Once upon a time, there were three bears who lived in the woods. They are as relevant to the story behind Sean Ferrell’s twisted need to don V.I.P.S. goggles as gumbo is to quantum physics.
    What is relevant is this: he must be stopped. Why, you may ask, and what the hell are V.I.P.S.? Only the most diabolical invention ever created by man (other than the singing bass or Rubik’s Cube). These lenses hide a mastermind of voyeurism gone one step too far. Via Internet Photograph Spyware goggles allow this fiend to see into our homes, watch us as we fruitlessly churn out chapters with aching fingers, mock us as we laugh at the other bespeckled intruder, theguywithglasses, on Youtube, and view whatever unsavory tasks YOU freaks might be up to. Me, I’m churning out the Next Great American Novel, and Sean is SO jealous.
    He is watching you right now as you read his post. He wonders what story you will come up with. He wonders if you’ve bathed today. He wonders how long it will be before you notice your nostril hair has really gotten out of control. Most importantly, he wonders if you recognize him from his short television stint in the 1980s as the immortal and irrepressibly clever Max Headroom.

  6. Sean Ferrell on the day he discovered the literary enhancement device he bought over the Internet would not increase the length, girth, or staying power of his artistic vision. His dreams of becoming a “literary giant” shattered, he wore the goggles to hide his tears–and because they made him look so darn sexy.

  7. I’m surprised none of Janet’s other clients have recognized your Super Shark Shades – designed especially to protect your eyes from her evil glare (particularly handy if you failed to extricate “that” from your fiction novel). I have a pair and she’s not even my agent.

  8. Dear Sean:
    I was hoping that I would never have to pen this missive, but it has now become apparent that I must, since the “change” has started to come onto you.
    You know full well that you were adopted, from “good New England stock.” That was a plausible lie, since it was hoped that your tainted genetic heritage would not manifest. Unhappily that is not the case, it seems.
    You are from Boston, that much is true, but your immediate forbears were not. Your grandparents were originally from a decayed—not decaying, as that would imply some remnant of vitality— seaport town called Innsmouth, on the Massachusetts coast. They fled, or escaped might be the proper term, shortly before the Federal Government torpedoed and depth-charged Devil Reef, while rounding up the townspeople (if people they could be called) and sent to camps in Louisiana and Northern Florida.
    The camps were segregated and heavily guarded, men in one camp, women in the other, to limit the possibilities of procreation.
    As often happens, a trait may skip a generation or two; your grandparents did not change, nor did your parents. They were lulled into false sense of security. A tragic automobile accident left you orphaned, so you were put up and adopted by a loving couple.
    Let me be so bold as to tell you what you have been experiencing as of late; strange aquatic dreams, images of frog-like beings swaying to the music of conch shell trumpets being blown at sea, fleeting glimpses of weed-covered oceanic structures or half-submerged ruins in the moonlight. Obviously you have developed a sensitivity to bright sunlight the result being copious amounts of tears, oddly gelatinous, running down your face. May I also state that you have developed sensitive, almost painful areas on your neck, below your ears.
    I also believe that you have a sudden affinity for the ocean and its denizens, particularly dolphins I may hazard.
    If any of what I have said has come to pass, contact me immediately at my e-mail address, as you are in serious danger of, quite literally, losing yourself.
    Your Servant,
    Gilbert J. Avila

  9. A self-professed Daryl Hannah fanatic, Sean Ferrell has been searching for a mermaid called “Madison” since 1984.
    Watching “Splash” five thousand times wasn’t enough; he turned his small apartment into a veritable ocean with bubble-stickers and childishly glued pieces of “algae.”
    His bathtub is always filled (and salted) in expectance of his one true love. He knows that – one morning – he’ll awake and find her in his bathroom: her blonde hair loose and glowing, her glistening tail switching.

  10. Sean was feeling smug. She was probably an 8 or 9/10 and she had gone to ‘change into something more comfortable’. Result.
    As he passed the mirror in the hallway the sinister fish mocked him:
    “Nice-beer goggles, Sean. See you in the morning…”

  11. Thank the gods for gillyweed, I’ve backed up everything to an off-site server, bagged the important things in Ziplock bags, now to catch and bag the goldfish and head for the roof. Will it never stop raining.

  12. It’s obvious that Mr. Ferrell is in a child’s psychologist’s office. Not his child’s psychologists, mind you, but Mr. Ferrell’s. The medical and psychiatric staff thought it best if he visited someone more appropriate for a juvenile mind.
    While Mr. Ferrell rambled, and told traumatic story after story, the doctor could not find the source of his patient’s anxiety of noodles. Finally, the safety goggles were brought out.
    “Repeat after me,” the good doctor said.
    “Repeat after me.”
    “Bow tie pasta cannot hurt me.”
    Mr. Ferrell sobbed.
    “You can do it,” the doctor assured.
    “You can do it.”
    “Put on the goggles and say it: Bow tie pasta cannot hurt me.”
    “Bow tie pasta cannot hurt me.”
    “The fish will eat the bow tie pasta.”
    “The fish will eat the bow tie pasta.”
    “Very good,” said the doctor.
    “Can I leave the goggles on?”
    “Of course. Now go ask the nurse for a lollipop from the treasure box.”

  13. Dammit, people. How am I supposed to come up with something better than that? Fine. Uncle. I’ll just be over in the corner twirling my hair.
    Kari Dell

  14. Excerpted from Mr. Ferrell’s profile in The New Yorker, September 18, 2031:
    In the summer time, Mr. Ferrell could often be seen taking in the sights and smells along the canals of Venice, his home away from home. Occasionally laughing to himself at some private joke, at other times talking to himself in such an animated way that troubled onlookers often notified the local caribinieri, Ferrell seemed to enjoy his time alone, away from his American admirers. Others also enjoyed his being alone, particularly his literary peers who found his presence so intimidating, they often could only write when they knew he was abroad on one of his extended holidays (which he often took to avoid paying income tax in the United States).
    When approached about his habit of wearing jaundice-colored glasses while drinking absinthe in the Piazza San Marco every Tuesday evening, he replied simply, “Some people are further along on their spiritual journey.”

  15. Four eyes are underestimated. So are vampires. So is being allergic to rain.
    To get a real job in the real world, dark sunglasses, sun lotion, teeth filing, and a hat will keep you in good shape and hidden from dull minds. But for the world of authors? Nobody can be fooled. Imagination and open minds run high and shrill. A four eyed, rainalergetic vampire would be hunted and slayed with pitchforks of words. This was Fean Serrell’s situation.
    The answer was simple.
    Goggles. But not just any goggles. Super- Hypo- Rainalergetic- Undiscoverable- Four Eyed- Goggles. Mr. Serrell had heard of these before. He knew there was only one person in the entire world that could retrieve and buy these before his author’s photo shoot. Time was a ticking time bomb begging to explode.
    He met me, Super Retriever Agent Sly McMinebogglersnort, in a dark alley. Cats dug catfish out of trashcans. The stench was worse than bean burrito abomination.
    “Do you have the merchandise?” Fean Serrell asked with a twinkle in his four eyes. A hundred bill extended from his fingertips.
    I presented the Super- Hypo- Rainalergetic- Undiscoverable- Four Eyed- Goggles. “These,” I whispered, “Will deceive and boggle the most curious, inquisitive mind. A reader might see the author’s photo and think he’s a deep sea diving moron named Skippy, but it’s better than them knowing who you truly are.”
    “That’s a chance I’m willing to take,” he said.
    I nodded. Our six eyes met, and it was then I knew Fean’s physical mutation was the result of his ever-expanding fantasies. I’ve seen this in many authors before him.
    The photo shoot went well. His photograph was put on twitter, as well as his book jacket, for others to wonder, speculate, and spit coffee at. He called me one week later. The goggles, it seemed, wouldn’t come off.
    I hung up. That was a problem for someone else to solve.
    This is my story and I’m sticking to it.
    ***Names have been changed to protect the four eyed, rainalergetic vampire writer’s identity.
    ~ Sly McMinebogglersnort

  16. OK, here is my first guess: Talented and rising writer Sean Ferrell decides to adopt a ferret that he intends to name after himself (Sean Ferret, get it?) But ferrets are invisible in New York, so he dons special goggles to make them visible among all the potholes and steam emitting manholes and advertisements for Broadway plays. Just as he finds a ferret a paparazzi photographer catches a shot of him without his permission (but with his goggles) and puts it on the internet.
    OK, OK, that’s not it, right? So try this: Blockbuster writer Sean Ferrell decides he needs a sideline for when he is not writing gripping fiction. So he becomes a male model for high concept eyewear.
    That’s not it? Alright, alright, try this one, then. Ueber writer Sean Ferrell goes to see the 3D movie AVATAR. But he gets lost and instead mistakenly finds himself on forty-second street watching the bums go by. (It has been awhile since I lived in New York. So indulge me if things have changed.) He is amazed at the 3D effect, not realizing that real life is 3D even without goggles. A cop, freaked out that someone on the street is wearing goggles, shines his flashlight in Sean’s eyes, creating a reflection which is clearly visible in the photo, even though it is the middle of the day.
    That’s not it, either? Sigh. OK,. How about this: Sean, a test pilot for the Transportation Safety Administration, is at work at Idlewild Airport, not realizing it has long since been renamed Kennedy Airport. Because of the confusion this creates, he fits right in with other government bureaucrats. The TSA asks him to try out their new X-Ray goggles, which make it appear that all the girls in the airport are stark naked. While he is wearing the goggles, Kate Hudson, Alice Eve, and Cameron Diaz all walk up at the same time. Because of the goggles he can see that none of them appear to be wearing weapons, or anything else for that matter. Sean is unimpressed.
    Alright, then, if that’s not it, this is my very last shot. Sean Ferrell decides to plug his latest thriller on the Dave Letterman Show. Since Letterman has not yet invited him, he needs a gimmick to get on the show. Hence, he arrives at the studio while street scenes are being broadcast, wearing goggles that will clearly set him apart from the rest of the crowd. This creates great PR and THE NEW YORK TIMES stops by for an interview.
    You owe me a book, Sean. I would like a Gutenberg Bible from the Morgan Library if you can spring for it, but that other one you mentioned will do. E-mail me privately for my secret mailing address.

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