I recall that it was in Junior High School that I discovered I was "The Missing Link" in the evolution of man. A cheesy carnival had come to town and pitched its tents and booths in the parking lot of a closed up store. (We may be headed this way again, folks.)
Among all the wacky sideshow booths was one with curtains painted in a jungle scene, with a caveman standing beneath a tree in which a monkey sat. Between them was a large scarlet question mark.
A large box parted the curtains, with a disclaimer or warning sign that said "Neither Human nor Ape, the Mysterious 'Missing Link' May Be Safely Seen Through Our Protective Viewing Port," and an arrow pointed to the box.
There was a round black rubber ring encircling a hole cut into the box and beyond that was a filmy sheet of glass mounted inside. A small adjusting wheel was on the side of the box.
I peered into the box but I couldn't quite see through the glass. A tiny sign inside the box said, "Use wheel to focus."
As soon as I turned the wheel the filmy glass rotated aside and a mirror reflected the back side of the plywood through which I was looking. Glued to the plywood was a wrinkly, furry, monkey-like body dressed in a leopard skin toga. Reflected above the toga and below a top-knot of hair wrapped around a chicken bone, was the cut-out through which my face now peered; making ME the missing link!
It was hokey but funny.
What was even funnier, (but only for those who viewed the box accompanied by friends who had no sense of loyalty,) was that the ring against which my face pressed had been smeared over with black mascara! So, unknowingly, off I went through the carnival with a black ring encircling my face, gawking at the giggling girls like some red-neck mime.
That was a long, long time ago. But the other day, wrapped in a towel as I returned from the shower, I caught a glimpse of my aged and hairy body reflected in the mirror and wouldn't you know, that memory flooded back.
Yes, I have just got to 'get' those friends.