My son Ben was assigned to come up with 12 ways to look in the mirror for his acting class, this is what he wrote.
12 Ways Exercise
Activity: Looking in the mirror.
1. I walk into the bathroom, sniff the cigarette smoke that is wafting in through the window from the aprtment below me. I turn to look in the mirror, and see a sunbleached wasteland, large creatures lumbering and moaning stampede past. My heatbeat slows, then accelerates. I lean forward to get a better look, resting my hands on the wall to either side of the medicine cabinet, then, disbelieving, I open the door of the cabinet and check the back of the mirror with my hand. I close the door and stare, rapt, into this strange world.
2. I step into the bathroom, feeling odd, and look into the mirror. My breathing is heavy and I am unsteady on my feet. As I look at myself, I suddenly realize that I am growing younger, my face is becoming softer. I rub my head and feel my hair, and then look down at my hands, as they begin to shrink inward, hairs retracting back into my body. I look back in the mirror and can see myself physically growing shorter and my head gradually sinks below the bottom edge of the mirror. I fall over and begin to curl up, catching my feet in the loose clothing that swims around me, feeling the cold tile under my belly, I begin to cry in a tiny baby’s voice.
3. I walk into the bathroom, I’m walking very evenly and carefully, as if I am balancing something. My head is three times bigger than normal. I’m not concerned, this was just the way I was born. I stand in front of the mirror, and my head begins to loll to one side alarmingly, and I grab my head with my hands and straighten it on my shoulders. I rub my cheek, scratch my nose, grab a comb and begin brushing my hair back. I have to reach up as high as I can to comb the top of my head, and it is always in danger of tipping over to one side, so I have to continually be catching it with one hand or the other. I smile in the mirror, and head off to work with a bounce in my step.
4. I walk into the bathroom and begin to shave, looking in the mirror. “hey, lookin’ good, oh yeah.” I begin rinsing the razor in the sink when I hear a voice close by. I look up, and listen, my head cocked. I walk out of the bathroom and into my small apartment, but there’s nothing. Then I hear something again, coming from inside the bathroom. I walk back in and say “hello?” I hear a response, coming from the mirror. “what?” I say, as I turn to the mirror, looking intently at my own reflection “who are you?” I say, leaning my weight on the sink. “You can’t be me, I’m me” I reply, putting hand onto my chest. “That’s not true!” I reply angrily, and then I turn and face the wall. “This is crazy, something’s happening to me!” Then I whirl-- “You,” I point my finger at the mirror, “don’t say that about my mom!” I put my face in my hands. “Oh my god, you’re so mean!” Then I get angry and move in close to the mirror. “I’m going to smash you to bits!” It grabs me by my throat, choking me. I scrabble at the sides of the medicine cabinet, and grab the reflection’s wrist, I finally pull free, gasping. I run out of the bathroom and slam the door behind me. Then I sit and catch my breath. I pull my cell phone out of my pocket, and call dial a number “Hello? are you there? Please pick up, doc... its happening again...”
5. I’m the richest man in the universe, I slide down into my bathroom, where a butler stands, holding up a mirror. I trot over to the mirror, and stand while I am shaved, combed and powdered by Tunisian triplets. I turn my head back and forth as they rub my face with aftershave, sleepily observing what is happening. When they stop fussing over me, I mess up my hair with my hands, and run off hooting.
6. I look in the mirror, but it is only me, looking back at myself. I stand there, arms outstretched, hands resting on the wall, staring right into my own eyes, looking at myself looking at myself. Then I laugh, because it’s not me at all, it’s just someone who looks like me. I stare at the other guy who looks like me. But it actually it is me I realize, so I laugh again, this time louder. It was me all along! Then I look at myself again. My hands slip and I fall face first into the mirror. I’m very very drunk.
7. I go to comb my hair while looking in the mirror, and the comb escapes, running up my shoulder and leaping onto the floor. I spin around and slam the door of the bathroom so it can’t get out, then I bend over, holding a newspaper. “Hey, it’s ok,” I say soothingly as I reach under the back of the toilet to grab the comb. But it’s too quick for me. It leaps in the air, scrabbling around on the smooth surface of the tub. I pull back the shower curtain, smiling as I watch it try to get out of the tub, wild-eyed. It just looks so silly.
8.I stand looking at the mirror, then I wave my wand at my face and cry “Beardicus Grownicious!” Instantly, a beard begins to sprout from my face. “Ooh,” I say, as I reach up to my face and feel the hair streaming out of my face. As the beard gets bigger and bigger, my eyes widen with horror. I wave the wand at my face, but it gets caught in the growing hair and gets knocked from my grasp, carried away by a giant river of hair that is roaring out of my face. "No!” I cry. The hair fills up the room and forces me up against the wall. “Stopicus grownicious” I cry weakly. Then I’m saved by Harry Potter.
9. I’m incredibly old, I’m bent over, my head is a shrunken raisin, all squinched up, and I slowly, carefully walk over to the bathroom, resting my weight on the wall, then the doorknob, then the sink. “Woo,” I say, as I rub my hip. I look into the mirror, squinting. Then I pull out my glasses, carefully rubbing them with a cloth I keep in my breast pocket. Then I put them on, look in the mirror and squint again. “Looking good!” I smile a toothless grin, and then slowly begin shuffling out of the bathroom.
10. I’m a tiny baby kid, I’m full of energy. I run around in a circle 3 times, making plane noises. Then I run into the bathroom. I look up at the mirror, but it’s too high. I run out and grab my toybox, and begin pulling it into the bathroom. It’s very heavy, and I have to lean my whole weight into pulling it. I finally get it in the bathroom, and clamber up on top of it. I look at myself somberly, and then make a hideous face, involving my tongue and my cheeks, but I can’t hold it because I'm laughing so hard.
11. I try to look in the mirror, but it’s so dirty. I squint and move my head this way and that, but all I see is a greasy shimmer. I spray some Windex all over the mirror and begin wiping it down. I wipe it all over, up and down, round and round, I spray even more Windex on it, and wipe some more. Then I throw the dirty paper towel into the trash and look into the mirror. Then I walk away.
12. I look in the mirror, but I think it’s another fish, so I bump my head against it for the rest of my life.