Okay folks. I've been holding on to this secret for a very long time. I've tried to deal with it through therapy, bad decisions, and finally acceptance. Life hasn't been easy carrying this heavy secret. But it is time to admit the truth.
I am Tom Thumb.
I feel better already. Yes, when I was a wee little boy, no bigger than my mother's thumb, I lived
a much different life.
My father, Richard Jesse Watson, was an up and coming children's book illustrator at the time. He needed a model and I agreed. On two conditions, I told him. One, that nobody would ever know about this. And two, that he would buy me a brand new G.I. Joe character of my choosing AND a brand new SWATCH.
As he cut my hair into a bowl cut and told me to put on bright red tights, he promised me, nobody would ever know.
My mother made all the clothing, including "mouse" leather boots and the "acorn" leaf hat.
Yes, this modeling seemed innocent enough, at first.
Swing on a rope, hold enormous cherry tomatoes. Avoid behemoth moth flying right at me.
And then things started getting more dangerous. I was "told" to juggle eight pointy objects at the same time. I'd never done more than three before. And they had been soft bean bags.
Working hours started getting longer. I was forced to go on a diet to keep my previous size and weight. So I'd fit in my custom clothes.
Under the strain I became dangerous to myself and others. Lashing out when my makeup boy didn't have my correct foundation and at the lighting guy for, well, just for being there.
I became an adrenaline junkie, as you can see on this bike. Later, Father would paint in my mouse steed. Yes those are VANS that I am wearing. All the rave. VANS came out with a TT mouse-leather prototype after our book came out, but under pressure from PETA and Disney they never took it to production. I could have really used that extra cash.
And then the inevitable happened. They needed something more edgy. So, sure enough, my clothes came off.
I did get a swell acorn sailboat out of the deal. Cheap tradeoff for my integrity? Perhaps.
Things went from bad to worse.
I was washed up. Just when I thought I'd given all I could possibly give to my father and the project...
Things hit rock bottom. I made some bad choices. Hung out with the wrong crowd. Same old children's book model story.
"I had no friend to go my bail they slapped my dried up carcass in that county jail." JR CASH
I don't like to talk about this time in my life. Though, I did make friends with sorts that I never thought I would. That's Geezer, in for cheese theft. Good company.
But after a lot of soul-searching, I found religion.
And my Dad found fame and awards. Like this one up there. And so it goes. They even wrote songs about me, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues. "I do believe I've had enough." B. Dylan
So thanks Dad. For telling me that nobody would ever see me in tights. I guess you meant everybody but the whole world and Chevy Chase, who has, or at least had, a painting of me on his wall at home. It was nice shaking his hand.
I'm sure there are legions of us, former children's book models, never recovered from the adrenaline rush of an art show at Every Picture Tells A Story starring yours truly in Beverly Hills. Funny how life changes. How we change. I'm no longer that three inch hardbody you see in those pictures. I've grown. Mostly outward but, hopefully inwardly too.
Assalaamu 'alaykum. Namaste. Jesus loves you. And so does Abraham, Isaac AND Ishmael. No matter what size you are. Or what Golden Kite Award Winning book you posed for as a boy. You can't go forward until you admit who you are and where you've been.
So this is me. I am Tom Thumb. I'm no longer ashamed to admit it.