all a part of the job

I know, I know. I get it all the time. People stop me on the street, they send me letters, they throw rocks through my windows with a note attached under a rubber band. They do this to send me a message. "Andy," they say "you are the type of person who needs to have your picture taken. A lot. For us, please. Do a photoshoot."

And so, friends, tomorrow I will.

It was always my dream, sitting there on the edge of my bed, holding that cheap, little starter acoustic guitar, trying to remember how to play an E chord, to be just like my hero, Mr. Michael W. Smith. I'd sit there under his stubbled gaze and just stare at his poster. How long, I would think to myself, did he have to sit there and grin like an idiot until they got that shot?

People, I can tell you this. Long. Very long. It always takes very long.

That's right. Tomorrow is photo shoot day. Various friends of mine who all have occasionally answered to the name "Caedmon's Call" will stand around in a series of open fields and stare deeply off to the left in unnatural positions for long periods of time tomorrow. I can tell you this: We will make awkward jokes and feel our inner demons having the loudest laugh for this reason: we will be trying very hard to look cool.

I'll tell you that before the shoot tomorrow I'll be going to a salon where a woman, I believe named Lynn, will cut my hair. That's a good thing. I look like Swamp Thing right now. I'm rocking the five-months later shot of Mom's Christmas buzz cut. It is both awe-inspiring and luscious.

I can also tell you that some woman, probably named Candi or Angel, will repeatedly come over and flick my hair around and dab my forehead with something gross. I keep telling them that I'm a dude and they can stop but they won't listen. They never listen.

You see, like most musicians I got into "the biz" not because of any natural talent or ability to play an instrument or write a song, but because I was very unpopular in Jr. High. They call this the "Look-At-Me-Now" phenomenon. I did not look cool then, when it really mattered.

Shockingly, I still don't look cool now. And somehow it mystifyingly still seems to matter. Tomorrow, though, people will be getting paid to attempt to make me look cool. They will fail, of course, they always do. But valiant attempts will be made.