Hi. I’m Neil Campbell. You’re probably wondering, “Who am I?” Well, I don’t have time to deal with your existential crisis, pal, so while you’re busy introspecting, I’m just going to introduce myself. Although, who knows? Perhaps I needn’t do so. Because if you lived in Japan sometime between 1988 and 1990, and you were an avid consumer of children’s clothing catalogs, you may already recognize me:
In the summer of 1988 (AKA “The Summer of Cocktail ”), my family moved to Camp Zama, Japan, just outside Tokyo. In short order, we discovered that blonde-haired, blue-eyed kids are in heavy demand as models in Japan. Now, this may strike you as odd. Why wouldn’t Japanese people want to look at pictures of Japanese children in their catalogs? By holding up blonde-haired, blue-eyed Caucasians as the ideal of physical beauty, doesn’t that belie a national sense of physical self-loathing? Well, in the words of myself at age 8, “Who cares?! As long as the bourbon keeps flowing and the checks keep growing, I don’t give two figs about any nation’s collective self-image! Now bring me two fingers of rye and sit on my lap, my dear!” (I was a precocious child.)
Over the next two years, I found steady work as a child model. Mostly clothing catalogs, with the occasional TV commercial. If it sounds like I’m bragging, well, I am.
The no-pants, raincoat-over-buttoned-up-shirt, holding-my-boots-instead-of-wearing-them look is one that I still rock today.
Of course, as the saying goes, all good things must come to a finish. In the fall of 1990 (AKA "The Autumn of Avalon" ), my dad accepted a job at the Pentagon, we moved back to Virginia, and my modeling days came to an abrupt end. I quickly went from up-and-coming hotshot model to … sigh … burnt-out former model.
Still, though, just as Charles Foster Kane had his Rosebud to serve as a symbol his lost childhood innocence, I’ll always have my … Weathercock.